The Los Angeles Rams just completed the 2020 NFL Draft. While experts and pundits have already given out draft-grades, they say it takes three years to get the actual grade of a draft. Heading into this season, the 2016 NFL Draft class will be going into their fourth seasons, meaning they will have had three years under their belts.
In that draft, which would be Jeff Fisher’s last, the Rams took Jared Goff, Tyler Higbee, Pharoh Cooper, Temmarick Hemingway, Josh Forrest, and Mike Thomas.
1st Overall – QB Jared Goff, California
The Los Angeles Rams traded up from 15th overall by giving up two firsts, a second, and two thirds. It was presumed that the Rams would take their future franchise quarterback whether it be Carson Wentz or Jared Goff. Fisher and Snead opted for Goff and three years later, both quarterbacks are pretty even, but given health concerns, Goff was probably the safer choice.
Bother quarterbacks have put their teams in positions to make a Super Bowl run and both have earned a second contract. That’s not something you see very often. Had the Rams stayed at 15, they most likely end up with Paxton Lynch or Laquon Treadwell – both of which have had less than stellar careers.
110th Overall – TE Tyler Higbee, Western Kentucky
When it comes to players in the fourth round, you’re just looking for someone who can contribute and potentially turn into a starter. Higbee has done just that. His run at the end of the 2019 season is unmatched in NFL history and gives him a bright future moving forward. Higbee has also earned a second contract with the Rams.
It’s worth noting that Dak Prescott was taken here in the fourth round. An option for the Rams would have been to grab a player like Ryan Kelly at 15 while keeping their other picks and taking Michael Thomas in the second round, and Austin Hooper in the third.
That haul would have given the Rams a pro-bowl center in the first round, an all-pro wide receiver in the second round, a tight end in the third, and then Prescott in the fourth. It’s hindsight now, but it’s interesting to look at what could have happened scenarios.
Higbee was a solid pick and has developed into the third-best tight end in the class behind Hooper and Hunter Henry.
117th Overall – WR Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
Cooper earned a pro-bowl nod as a punt returner but was cut after the 2017 season. However, Cooper was one of only five players to make the pro bowl selected after the 110th overall pick and it’s not as if they passed on someone obvious.
Fifth Round – OT Isaiah Battle, Clemson
The Rams forfeited their 2016 fifth-round selection in the supplemental draft after taking Isaiah Battle. Battle turned out to be not worth the selection and Tyreek Hill, Halapoulivaati Vaiti, and Marqui Christian were taken shortly after what would have been the Rams’ pick.
Battle filled a need at tackle, but Vaiti has had a much better career and would have been there if the Rams held the pick. It’s not a bad thing to take a chance on a player in the supplemental draft, but Battle certainly wasn’t worth the selection.
177th Overall – TE Temarrick Hemingway, South Carolina State
Taking a second tight end after selecting Higbee in the fourth round didn’t make a lot of sense and between injuries and better talent, Hemingway had a forgettable career with the Rams. In the sixth round, it’s difficult to find contributors, but adding a player like Blake Countess or Austin Blythe who both spent time or are still on the Rams roster would have warranted a better grade.
190th Overall – LB Josh Forrest, Kentucky
Again, late in the sixth round, you’re looking for special teams contributors, so it’s hard to knock the Rams. It’s not like they passed on someone who ended up being a starter or a star in the league at this point. You could make the case that they should have taken Cory Littleton here as he went undrafted or Patrick Onwuasor, but it’s hard to knock them too much.
206th Overall – WR Mike Thomas, Southern Mississippi
Thomas was supposed to be the steal of the draft in the sixth round and through his first three seasons with the Rams, he was always built up in training camp as someone who made plays. However, he will be most known for dropping a long ball from Goff in his rookie season in Seattle.
Robby Anderson went undrafted and may have been a better pick. However, with pick 206, Thomas was on the roster for three years and found time on the field. It’s difficult to do much better than that.
Overall Grade: B-
The Los Angeles Rams found their franchise quarterback and got a good tight end in Tyler Higbee. The best pick by far was Goff with the worst selection being Isaiah Battle in the supplemental draft the year before. Despite having only one pick in the top-100, the Rams did alright. It set them up for a 4-12 season the next year, but for success down the line that has included two playoff appearances and three straight winning seasons for the first time since 1999-2001.