The Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay is about to go into his fifth draft with the team this April. McVay’s first draft came in 2017 which helped set up and build the culture that the team has today. With selections like Cooper Kupp and John Johnson III, the Rams got cornerstone pieces on both offense and defense.
Five years has give us plenty of time to see what the players in this class could do. They say that it takes three years to properly evaluate a draft class, but five years is an even larger sample size. This is also about when these players will be receiving or have already receiving second contract. Let’s take a look back at how the Rams did in the draft back in 2017.
44th Overall – TE Gerald Everett
Gerald Everett’s history with the team has been very up and down. He reminds me of another second round pick that the Rams selected in the draft – wide receiver Brian Quick. Like Quick, Everett showed flashes but never seemed to be able to put it together over 16 games.
After Everett would make one amazing catch, such as the game-winner against the Kansas City Chiefs, he would have a drop a few weeks later or completely disappear. He just never seemed to get going. If the Rams had this pick over again, it’s hard to see them not taking Everett again. The tight end taken right after Everett – Adam Shaheen – was traded from the Bears to the Miami Dolphins.
Of course, in hindsight, it would’ve been nice to take someone like George Kittle or Chris Godwin here, but the Rams got a solid contributor in the second round and he will demand a second contract from another team. The Rams could have done a little better here, but also could have done worse.
69th Overall – WR Cooper Kupp
Of course Chris Godwin will be brought up here as a player the Rams should have taken in the draft over Kupp. However, for being called slow pre-draft, Kupp has been one of the best slot wide receivers in the NFL. The Rams also signed Kupp to a long-term deal last offseason.
Three other wide receivers were taken between Kupp and Godwin 15 picks later. All of which never put up over 500 yards in a season and ArDarious Stewart and Carlos Henderson have bounced around the league. Kupp may not be Chris Godwin, but he’s a top-25 wide receiver in the NFL which is also pretty damn good.
91st Overall – S John Johnson III
A lot of people were not fans of the selection of John Johnson III. However, with his wingspan and speed, it was pretty clear that he had a good chance to be a solid safety at the next level. It’s to be determined if the Rams will sign him long-term, but either way Johnson will have his pay day this offseason.
There were a lot of good selections at the end of the third round which included Kenny Golladay, Jonny Smith, Rasul Douglas, Trey Hendrickson, James Connor, and Shaquill Griffin. The Rams did pretty well with John Johnson III who made arguably the biggest play in the 2018 Super Bowl run.
117th Overall – WR Josh Reynolds
The Rams took wide receiver Josh Reynolds in the fourth round, and while it is unlikely that he is brought back on a second contract, he has been a solid contributor. For a wide receiver taken in the fourth round, he’s done pretty well. Reynolds has been the most productive day three wide receiver in the 2017 draft class.
Reynolds is going to get a second contract. While it may not be from the Rams, it just shows the drafting ability in 2017. He may not be the typical big-bodied wide receiver that can stretch the field, but he does a lot of things well.
125th Overall – EDGE Samson Ebukam
Samson Ebukam is an amazing athlete, however, that hasn’t necessarily translated to amazing player. However, for a day three pick, the team could have done a lot worse. Ebukam has started 35 games in four years and has 14 sacks. That’s more than most players selected on day three.
It’s also worth pointing out that George Kittle was still available at this point in the draft. Yes, the Rams had taken Everett earlier on and had Tyler Higbee, but it’s worth at least noting.
189th Overall – DT Tanzel Smart
At this point in the draft, it’s really difficult to his on players. Smart lasted three years with the Rams and had 21 tackles in his three seasons. For a dart throw, this wasn’t a bad pick. There also wasn’t any other defensive lineman that did anything of significance drafted after Smart.
206th Overall – FB Sam Rogers
The Rams took a full back in the sixth round in 2017 and lasted two years in the league. I’m not sure what the Rams were thinking with this pick. Chris Carson was drafted later in the seventh round. Patrick Ricard went undrafted as a full back and has made two Pro Bowls. Austin Ekeler and Matt Breida also both went undrafted. This might be the worst pick of this draft for the Rams.
234th Overall – OLB Ejuan Price
After taking Aaron Donald out of Pitt a few years earlier, the Rams went after another Panthers defensive player and didn’t have the same luck. Price lasted two years in the NFL and then was out. For a player taken this late in the draft, there aren’t a lot of expectations. Like Smart, nobody at the position selected later went on to do much better.