Many times throughout a NFL season when a rookie does well, some analysts will declare that had they been on the clock at “x” pick, they would have taken that player. Had “x” analyst been making the pick in 2017 in the second round, they would have taken Chris Godwin over who the Rams took, Gerald Everett.
It’s easy to say you would have done something when hindsight is 2020 when you didn’t actually make the pick in real time. That’s why during last year’s draft, I did a Shadow Draft. When the Rams were on the clock, so was I.
You can see the full results of my draft class here.
A shadow draft is a great way to hold yourself accountable as an analyst and have it so that it’s on record when you were right or wrong. Let’s see how I did!
52nd Overall Pick – CB Kristian Fulton
Fulton was a projected top-20 pick and arguably a top-3 cornerback in the class. The value here was too good to pass up. I assumed the Rams would get a deal done with Jalen Ramsey, but even still, Troy Hill was set to hit free agency after the season. Fulton I thought would be a good replacement when the time came.
The former LSU cornerback had a rookie season to forget. Fulton missed 10 games due to injuries and made a trip to the reserve/COVID-19 list. You never know how a player would have done in a different situation. Maybe things would have gone better in year one with the Rams.
However, the Rams took Cam Akers with this pick while Fulton went nine picks later. As it stands, it looks like the Rams made the correct choice.
57th Overall Pick – EDGE Josh Uche
Like Fulton, Uche’s rookie season was plagued with injuries. Injuries limited Uche to just nine games, but when he did play, he had success as a situational pass rusher. The Patriots used him in a similar role to how they used Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins.
According to Pro Football Focus Uche had 14 total pressures on 99 pass rushes. He put together a 75.1 PFF pass-rushing grade.
With this selection, the Rams took Van Jefferson and Uche was taken with the 60th overall pick. It’s hard to say which selection would have been the better pick here. We’ll have to wait until year two.
84th Overall Pick – LB Troy Dye
With the opportunity at linebacker, Troy Dye might have had a really good season with the Los Angeles Rams. However, with the Minnesota Vikings, Dye was inconsistent. Dye spent the first month of the season on injured reserve, but played in the final 11 games, making five starts.
According to Pro Football Focus, Dye had one of the worst run defense and coverage grades among rookie linebackers. With this pick, the Rams took Terrell Lewis who at least showed some upside in limited action. I may have reached here as well as Dye was taken in the fourth round with the 132nd selection.
104th Overall Pick – iOL Nick Harris
Harris didn’t get his first taste of action until Week 15, but when he did finally hit the field, he showed some promise. The former Washington center saw action at guard and was solid in the run game, but did give up two sacks when pass blocking. Harris only played in two games before ending up on IR. Harris will provide depth at both center and guard for Cleveland.
With this selection, the Rams took Terrell Burgess who also spent most of the season inactive and on IR. Burgess got more action however and showed slightly more promise. This selection may have also been a slight reach by me. Harris was taken in the 5th round with the 160th overall pick.
136th Overall Pick – OT Hakeem Adeninji
Adeniji was a player that I loved pre-draft. He’s a tackle that could swing inside and play guard if needed. That was something that I thought the Rams would value. Adeniji took most of his snaps at left tackle last season and certainly played like a rookie, allowing four sacks and 12 pressures. However, for a sixth round-pick, he played better than most.
HIs best game came in Week 10 against Pittsburgh when he was one of the lone bright spots on the Bengals offensive line. The next two years will be big for Adeniji as he continues to develop. As a late pick, he was thrown into the fire early. Only time will tell if that helps or hurts him.
With this selection, the Rams took Brycen Hopkins who we will also have to wait until year two to see how he performs. Adeniji was taken with the 180th overall pick by the Bengals.
199th Overall Pick – S Geno Stone
While the Rams and I were on the same page about taking a safety with the 199th overall pick, it was the Rams with the professional scouting team that came out with the better player by far. Stone was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens with the 219th pick and cut in October before signing to the Houston Texans.
234th Overall Pick – WR Quartney Davis
Davis went undrafted and was signed by the Minnesota Vikings. He didn’t make the final roster. The Colts signed Davis to a futures contract earlier in January. The Rams took Clay Johnston with this pick and he didn’t make the final roster.
248th Overall Pick – TE Thaddeus Moss
Thaddeus Moss also went undrafted and signed with the Washington Football Team. Moss spent the year in injured reserve. Washington has opportunity at tight end. Moss could work himself into a role in year two. Moss could have developed as a blocking tight end with the Rams and taken over for Johnny Mundt. Sam Sloman was taken with this pick and the Rams cut him midseason.
250th Overall Pick – LB Francis Bernard
Bernard also went undrafted but he is one of four linebackers under contract for the Cowboys heading into next season. The linebacker spent his season on special teams. It’s hard to say whether or not Bernard would have made the Rams’ final roster, but he had more of an impact that Clay Johnston who was taken three picks earlier.