Last year, the Los Angeles Rams gave up a huge haul to move up in the 2016 NFL Draft and select Cal quarterback Jared Goff. As a result of that trade, they entered this year’s draft missing first- and third-round selections. After some trades, Los Angeles wound up making eight selections in the 2017 draft, and I am having a hard time defending any of them.
With the 44th overall pick in the second round, the Rams opted to take Gerald Everett, a tight end from South Alabama. Everett is 6’3″ and 239 pounds, making him a wildly undersized tight end. He showed well at the combine, but looked like a late Day 2 pick in a very deep tight end class.
If the Rams wanted to get Goff a solid pass-catcher and do some great PR, why didn’t they take sure-handed and explosive USC wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was still on the board? Even if the Rams hadn’t taken Smith-Schuster, there were other options on the board to help Goff. How about Ashland tight end Adam Shaheen, a monster target with tremendous upside?
The Rams did get two receivers, Cooper Kupp (69th pick) and Josh Reynolds (117th pick). While both have their pluses, they were also taken too high. Kupp is a solid receiver who was wildly productive at Eastern Washington and was one of my favorite small-school players in the draft. But with some big play guys still on the board this was a curious selection. Reynolds has a decent combination of size and speed, but the Texas A&M product had a fifth-round ceiling on my board.
Safety John Johnson was taken in the third round (91st pick) and he’s another guy I had a fifth to sixth-round grade on. The Boston College kid can make some plays, but he did not look great at the combine, isn’t aggressive on tape and is a weak tackler.
The rest of the draft was a mixed bag. Outside linebacker Samson Ebukam (No. 125) is another Eastern Washington guy, Tulane defensive lineman Tanzel Smart (No. 189), Virginia Tech fullback Sam Rogers (No. 206) and Pitt outside linebacker Ejuan Price (No. 234) all went off the board around when they should have. Those picks were as boring as could be, which isn’t always a bad thing.
The problem here is the Rams had some serious needs and couldn’t address them adequately because they overpaid for Goff in 2016. In that deal they got the 1st, 113th and 177th picks from the Titans in exchange for their first-round pick (15th), two second-round picks (43rd and 45th) and a third-rounder (76th), plus first- and third-rounders this year (5th and 100th). Goff looked awful as a rookie, and while he may improve, that trade ruined the ability to surround him with quality talent in the short-term.
The Rams have no true No. 1 wideout on the roster and the offensive line is a mess even with the signing of Andrew Whitworth. Meanwhile, the newly-drafted Johnson won’t adequately fill the an opening at safety, while Ebukam and Price probably won’t scare anyone off the edge consistently. Ebukam is lightning quick but undersized and Price is another undersized guy but he didn’t show the kind of burst needed to get to the quarterback off the edge at the next level. The team still has major problems filling the edge rusher spots for Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense.
This draft for Los Angeles was obviously depleted because of the Goff trade, but that has to be factored in. The franchise largely surrendered the chance to get top-end talent (in a super deep draft) in exchange for a quarterback from an air raid offense, who has light-years of developing left to do. On top of that, the Rams simply didn’t address their biggest needs adequately. General manager Les Snead and his front office are going to have a difficult time defending this.
From top to bottom this was a bad draft from the Rams and it all started back with the Goff trade.