The Los Angeles Rams received mostly solid reviews from the work they did on this year’s draft class nationally.
Draft analysts praised Rams GM Les Snead for taking value picks and adding players with upside.
However, Pro Football Focus took the Rams to task for adding players with potential based on size and speed that had not necessarily shown they can execute and produce at the next level based on how they performed in college.
Here’s a roundup of evaluations on L.A.’s draft class.
Connor Orr of Sports Illustrated hands out a solid B grade for the Rams, which you can find here. Orr: “Tutu Atwell was a fascinating way to kick the draft off. Like Devonta Smith, a lot of people are making a big deal out of the weight (155 lbs) but he could be a difference maker behind the line of scrimmage. Their best pick, though, may have been securing the likes of Ernest Jones, who can finally help bring some stability to the middle of their defense. Losing Brandon Staley is a massive hit for the Rams, but bringing in an off-ball linebacker who can cover and play tough against the run is a good way to start the rebuilding process.”
Draft analyst Chad Reuter of NFL.com was even more impressed, handing out an A grade for the Rams. Click here. Reuter: “While I’m usually not a big fan of parting with multiple first-round picks for a non-quarterback, cornerback Jalen Ramsey is an exception to the rule as one of the top defenders in the NFL. His presence is one reason the Rams have one of the top defenses in the league, so allowing the Jaguars to pick at No. 25 (and in the fourth round, as well) this year was a worthwhile deal. Atwell’s an explosive player whose extremely small frame (5-9, 155) is a bit worrisome. GM Les Snead traded one of the Rams' two third-round picks for two fourths, which made sense, given the team’s lack of overall draft capital. Using their third-round comp pick on Jones addressed a big need on defense.
“The Rams picked two defensive lineman with the last name Brown (Bobby in the third, Ernest in the fifth) to help replace Michael Brockers (traded to the Lions). Rochell was expected to go in the fourth round, and the Rams needed depth at the position; that’s a good marriage of need and value. Harris won over teams at his pro day and projects as a stand-up receiving tight end. Garrett is an edge rusher prospect who will bring it hard in training camp.”
ESPN’s Mel Kiper gave the Rams a B-plus here. Kiper: “Ernest Jones (103) will compete to start at middle linebacker. I thought he could have snuck into the second round, so the Rams got value. Bobby Brown (117) will get snaps at nose tackle. Robert Rochell (130) went under the radar because he played at Central Arkansas, but he had five picks in 2019. Jacob Harris (141) is a 6-foot-5 receiver who hasn't played much football – he’s a former soccer player -- but had eight touchdowns and averaged 18 yards per catch last season. Running back Jake Funk (233) is going to make this team.
“This is an impressive haul for a team without a first-round pick, and it's a case of drafting for value and not reaching for needs. What keeps it from an A is the lack of an offensive linemen. I was surprised they didn't try a late-round flier or two.”
ESPN’s Todd McShay favorite player the Rams drafted is Tutu Atwell. Click here. McShay: “Atwell excels on screens, where 40 of his 140 career catches have come. The Rams’ offense utilized screen routes at the fifth-highest rate last season, so expect to see plenty of that with Atwell. Between Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, DeSean Jackson, Van Jefferson and Atwell, the Los Angeles receiving group is going to be pretty solid.”
USA Today’s Nate Davis also gives a B-plus grade to rams here. Davis: “Can't argue sitting out the first round – once again – because the pick was used to get All-Pro CB Jalen Ramsey. Can argue spending your top selection in Round 2 on a luxury item like WR Tutu Atwell given speedster DeSean Jackson had already signed on. Can’t argue using the third-rounder to get QB Matthew Stafford ... though whether he's worth a pair of future firsts remains to be seen. Can argue how well the rest of the selections were deployed given you're distracted by the dazzling sunshine reflecting off the Pacific Ocean in your Malibu "Rams House" draft HQ.”
Count Pro Football Focus unimpressed with L.A.’s selection of nine picks. PFF says the Rams choose athletic potential over technique and production, giving the Rams a C grade here.
PFF on Day 2 picks for Rams: “The Rams grab the speedster they’ve been coveting in Tutu Atwell, though this is yet another reach on a smaller receiver with some issues. Atwell raised eyebrows by weighing in at the medical combine at 149 pounds, which would make him one of the lightest receivers ever to hit the NFL. His route tree was extremely limited, but there’s no doubting his playmaking ability, and his best PFF grades came against man coverage.
(Ernest) Jones was a good run defender at South Carolina, but he falls because we don’t know much about him in coverage. He needs to anticipate and react faster if he is to stick at the NFL level. He brings it in the run game, but his change of direction and coverage skills leave a lot to be desired.”