Snead’s Snacks: Who Could The Rams Draft at Running Back?

by Blaine Grisak
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The Los Angeles Rams enter a crucial year when it comes to the NFL draft. With limited cap space (and limited draft capital for that matter), it’s going to be more important than ever to build depth through the draft and than means hitting on the majority of their picks.

Every year I do a series called “Snead’s Snacks”.  In other words, we’re going to find and look at common themes and traits of previous Les Snead draft picks and see which players in the upcoming NFL Draft fit the mold for the Rams. The focus for today’s edition of “Snead’s Snacks” will be on one of the Rams’ biggest positions of need, the cornerback position. Last season we correctly predicted Ernest Jones and Robert Rochell as fits for the Rams.

The Rams haven’t re-signed Sony Michel in free agency. With Darrell Henderson on the final year of his contract and Cam Akers‘ injury concerns, the Rams could add some depth. The team added Jake Funk in the draft last year, but will look to add a more consistent contributor.

*Editor’s Note: Numbers taken from RAS and Mockdraftable

Notable Past Rams Drafted Players

Jake Funk, RB, Maryland – 7th Round

Measurables
Height: 5’10 (45th percentile)
Weight: 204-lbs (23rd percentile)
20-yard shuttle: 4.12 (82nd percentile)
Broad Jump: 122” (75th percentile)
40-yard dash: 4.49 sec (70th percentile)
3-cone: 6.71 sec (96th percentile)
Vertical: 38” (86th percentile)

Size Grade: Poor
Speed Grade: Elite
Agility Grade: Elite
Explosive Grade: Great
RAS: 9.76 – Elite

Traits:

  • Explosive
  • Good receiver
  • Falls Forward
  • Strong Lower-body

Overview of Pick

Jake Funk spent most of his rookie season on injured reserver. Prior to that, he spent time on special teams as a key contributor.

Cam Akers, RB, Florida State – 2nd Round

Measurables
Height: 5’10 (36th percentile)
Weight: 217-lbs (61st percentile)
20-yard shuttle: 4.42 sec (17th percentile)
Broad Jump: 122” (75th percentile)
40-yard dash: 4.47 sec (77th percentile)
3-cone: N/A
Vertical: 35.5” (63rd percentile)

Size Grade: Good
Speed Grade: Great
Agility Grade: N/A
Explosive Grade: Good
RAS: 8.81 – Great

Traits: 

  • Powerful Legs
  • Tough Finisher
  • Willing pass-protector
  • Eyes and feet work together – above average vision

Overview of Pick

Cam Akers has had an up and down career through two seasons. His rookie season was highlighted by three games – one against the worst run defense in the NFL. The other two however, notably came during the playoffs. Akers tore his achilles last season and struggled to find consistency.

Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis – 3rd Round

Measurables
Height: 5’8 (13th percentile)
Weight: 208-lbs (32nd percentile)
20-yard shuttle: 4.41
Broad Jump: 121” (69th percentile)
40-yard dash: 4.49 sec (70th percentile)
3-cone: 7.03
Vertical: 33.5” (37th percentile)

Size Grade: Poor
Speed Grade: Elite
Agility Grade: Okay
Explosive Grade: Good
RAS: 7.71 – Good

Traits:

  • Physical runner
  • Good pass catcher
  • Keeps Feet Moving
  • Good contact balance

Overview of Pick

Darrell Henderson has been a solid complimentary back with the Rams. Injuries have limited his potential, but he’s still a very good pass-blocker, good receiver and averaged a career-high 4.6 yards per carry last season.

John Kelly, RB, Tennessee – 6th Round

Measurables
Height: 5’9 (28th percentile)
Weight: 216-lbs (58th percentile)
20-yard shuttle: 4.51 sec (7th percentile)
Broad Jump: 120” (61st percentile)
40-yard dash: 4.64
3-cone: 7.13 (39th percentile)
Vertical: 35 (57th percentile)

Size Grade: Okay
Speed Grade: Okay
Agility Grade: Poor
Explosive Grade: Good
RAS: 4.45 – Poor

Traits:

  • Good contact balance
  • Physical runner
  • Good footwork
  • Competitive pass-blocker
  • Shows potential as a receiver

Overview of Pick

John Kelly was seen as a steal of the 2018 NFL Draft. However, when he got his opportunity, he didn’t seem to shine. The Rams cut Kelly after 2019.

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia – 1st Round

Measurables
Height: 6’1 (86th percentile)
Weight: 222-lbs (74th percentile)
20-yard shuttle: N/A
Broad Jump: N/A
40-yard dash: N/A
3-cone: N/A
Vertical: N/A

Size Grade: Great
Speed Grade: N/A
Agility Grade: N/A
Explosive Grade: N/A
RAS: N/A

Traits:

  • Good power in legs
  • Decisive runner, gets downhill
  • Soft hands as a receiver

Overview of Pick

Todd Gurley was on pace to be a future Hall of Famer. That was until his knees degenerated and health became a big issue. Still, he won offensive player of the year under McVay and was the 2015 NFL Rookie of the Year.

Tre Mason, RB, Aubrun – 3rd Round

Measurables
Height: 5’8 (9th percentile)
Weight: 207 (29th percentile)
20-yard shuttle: 4.15 (78th percentile)
Broad Jump: 126” (91st percentile)
40-yard dash: 4.5 (68th percentile)
3-cone: N/A
Vertical: 38.5 (89th percentile)

Size Grade: Poor
Speed Grade: Great
Agility Grade: N/A
Explosive Grade: Elite
RAS: 8.92 – Great

Traits:

  • Finishes his runs
  • Good in pass protection
  • Showed good hands in limited usage
  • Good vision

Overview of Pick

Tre Mason had one good year with the Rams, taking over for Zac Stacy. Unfortunately legal issue derailed his career and the Rams drafted Todd Gurley. Mason was cut after 2016.

Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt – 5th Round

Measurables
Height: 5’8 (9th percentile)
Weight: 216-lbs (58th percentile)
20-yard shuttle: 4.17 sec (73rd percentile)
Broad Jump: 122” (75th percentile)
40-yard dash: 4.55 sec (54th percentile)
3-cone: 6.7 sec (96th percentile)
Vertical: 33” (31st percentile)

Size Grade: Poor
Speed Grade: Good
Agility Grade: Great
Explosive Grade: Good
RAS: 8.16 – Great

Traits:

  • Good finisher, decisive runner
  • Strong legs
  • Plus movement

Overview of Pick

Zac Stacy had one good season with the Rams before they drafted Tre Mason a year later. It’s been #Yikes ever since for Stacy.

Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati – 2nd Round

Measurables
Height: 5’10 (36th percentile)
Weight: 197-lbs (12th percentile)
20-yard shuttle: 4.32 sec (36th percentile)
Broad Jump: 116” (33rd percentile)
40-yard dash: 4.47 sec (77th percentile)
3-cone: 6.95 sec (68th percentile)
Vertical: 33 (31st percentile)

Size Grade: Poor
Speed Grade: Great
Agility Grade: Okay
Explosive Grade: Okay
RAS: 6.12 – Good

Traits:

  • Receiving ability
  • Quick feet
  • Good vision

Overview of Pick

Darryl Richardson, RB, Abilene Christian – 7th Round

Measurables
Height: 5’10
Weight: 192-lbs
20-yard shuttle: 4.36 sec
Broad Jump: 135”
40-yard dash: 4.46 sec
3-cone: 7.07 sec
Vertical: 40.5”

Size Grade: Poor
Speed Grade: Great
Agility Grade: Poor
Explosive Grade: Elite
RAS: 7.61 – Good

Traits:

Overview of Pick

Daryl Richardson was the apparent heir to Steven Jackson. However, with Richardson, the Rams were unable to find consistency in the run game in 2013 and turned to Zac Stacy. Richardson was cut by the Rams after 2013.

Notable Past Rams Undrafted/Signed Players

Sony Michel, RB, Georgia – Trade

Measurables
Height: 5’10 (47th percentile)
Weight: 214-lbs (52nd percentile)
20-yard shuttle: 4.21 sec (61st percentile)
Broad Jump: N/A
40-yard dash: 4.54 sec (54th percentile)
3-cone: N/A
Vertical: N/A

Size Grade: Okay
Speed Grade: Good
Agility Grade: N/A
Explosive Grade: N/A
RAS: 8.96 – Great

Traits:

  • Decisive Runner
  • Good open field vision
  • Stout lower-body

Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas – UDFA

Measurables
Height: 5’11 (57th percentile)
Weight: 224 (78th percentile)
20-yard shuttle: 4.15 sec (78th percentile)
Broad Jump: 117” (39th percentile)
40-yard dash: 4.62 sec (27th percentile)
3-cone: 6.86 sec (82nd percentile)
Vertical: 34.5” (51st percentile)

Size Grade: Good
Speed Grade: Poor
Agility Grade: Great
Explosive Grade: Okay
RAS: 6.84 – Okay

Traits:

  • Strong finisher and falls forward
  • Plus blocker in pass protection
  • Capable receiver

Justin Davis, RB, USC – UDFA

Measurables
Height: 6’1 (86th percentile)
Weight: 208-lbs (32nd percentile)
20-yard shuttle: 4.3 sec
Broad Jump: 115”
40-yard dash: 4.6 sec
3-cone: 6.86 sec
Vertical: 30”

Size Grade: Okay
Speed Grade: N/A
Agility Grade: Good
Explosive Grade: Poor
RAS: 5.76 – Okay

Traits:

  • Good open field vision
  • Quick feet

Common Traits Rams Look For

Here are the common traits that can help us build a rough mold of what Snead might look for in rookie running back. We’ll primarily look at the running backs drafted that the Rams have had 2017 to now, however, the earlier running backs could be noteworthy in Snead’s eyes.

  • The Rams like running backs with good short area quickness. All running backs except for Daryl Richardson and John Kelly were good to great in the 3-cone. Malcolm Brown was also the only running back with a poor 10-yard split in the 40.
  • In terms of size, the Rams don’t really seem to value elite size. We’re likely going to be looking at running backs in the 5’8 to 5’10 range and under 220-lbs.
  • Every running back outside fo John Kelly had an okay to elite RAS score. The Rams don’t value size, but six of their drafted running backs had great to elite speed and good explosiveness.
  • Trait-wise, the Rams seem to value running backs that finish their runs and have a strong lower body. They seem to value quick feet which lines up with short area quickness. McVay also likes his running backs to be a threat out of the backfield. Most of these running backs were seen as potential good pass catchers and also were good in pass protection.

2022 Players Who Fit the Rams

RB Tyler Badie – Missouri

Tyler Badie is considered to have poor size at 5’8, 197-lbs. The Rams may ask him to put on a little weight and get up to around 205, however, that lines up in the size that the Rams look for. Additionally, he has elite speed and good agility. Badie is tough to bring down and also adds value as a wide receiver. This is a player that McVay could have fun with lining up all over formations.

Draft Grade – Round 4

RB Jerome Ford – Cincinnati

At around 5’10 and 209, Ford is exactly what the Rams look for at running back in terms of size. His combination of lower body strength and quick feet also line up with what the Rams have drafted in the past. As a RAS comp, he lines up similarly to Sony Michel who was a primary ball carrier for the Rams last season.

Draft Grade – Round 5

*RB Isaih Pacheco – Rutgers

Pacheco has good size at 5’10, 215-lbs and is a physical style of runner that the Rams have liked with guys such as Sony Michel last season. The ability to finish runs and fall forward is something that the Rams covet and that’s something that Pacheco does well. At 216-lbs, Pacheco ran a 4.37 40-yard dash and also has quick feet. Additionally, he’s a plus pass catcher and solid in pass protection.

Draft Grade – Round 6-UDFA

Honorable Mentions

RB Kyren Williams – Notre Dame

  • Tested Poorly – ran 4.65 40-time. Is his GPS speed faster?
  • Good pass protector and pass catcher.
  • Versatile player

RB Ty Chandler – UNC

  • Pass-catching threat
  • Solid vision
  • Quick feet
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Kampy
Kampy
4 months ago

As a Mizzou guy I’m biased towards Tyler Badie. Despite being small-ish, he’s a TOUGH runner who’s not afraid of contact. All-around good guy too. I think he would complement Akers just as good as Sony or Hendo or Funk, maybe even better

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