Even though their first pick didn't come until late in the third round, the Los Angeles Rams went into last season's draft with a focus on bolstering the secondary and offensive line before defending their Super Bowl title.
But as it turns out, they would've needed to draft a miracle-working player in order to save their season.
LA had a talented set of rookies on the roster this past season, but were unable to get a full look at all of them due to various injury. With only fourth-round cornerback Cobie Durant making a significant season-long impact, it's hard to label the Rams 2022 draft class as a success ... at least for the moment.
ESPN ranked all the rookie draft classes and has LA coming in at second-to-last at No. 31. Here's what the rankings had to say:
The Rams didn't pick until the third round of last year's draft and then saw that player, guard Logan Bruss, go down with an ACL tear in the preseason. Instead, their most active rookie was cornerback Cobie Durant, who started playing the nickel at midseason. Durant has allowed just 5.3 yards per target with three interceptions. Another cornerback, sixth-rounder Derion Kendrick, started early in the season but allowed a frightening 10.0 yards per target and eventually got benched. Safety Russ Yeast was active in the run game when he was on the field, but he wasn't on the field very much, just 12% of defensive snaps in games he was active.
Durant impressed as arguably LA's third-best cornerback behind Jalen Ramsey and Troy Hill. He finished the year with 15 solo tackles, three interceptions and five passes defended. Two of these picks came in the 51-14 Christmas Day win over the Denver Broncos, as he took his second interception of the game 85 yards to the house in the fourth quarter.
Along with Bruss - LA's top selection - missing the year with an ACL tear, running back Kyren Williams didn't get full reps until late due to an injury on the first play of the season. Still, he was solid despite the circumstances of playing in arguably the league's worst offense, finishing with 35 carries for 139 yards to go along with nine catches for 76 yards.
For a team that entered the year coming off a Super Bowl title, having an elite rookie class wasn't necessarily at the top of the priority list. But considering how poorly the season ended up going, the Rams will need their young players to develop quickly headed into their second season.
You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7
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