Draftravaganza 2010 is over! Time to see how we did!
Draftravaganza 2010 is over! Time to see how we did!
With the 2010 NFL Draft behind us, one can only wonder… how did the Rams do?
It hasn’t even been 24 hours since the 2010 NFL Draft came to a close, which means we’re overdue in giving out grades to players that we won’t know anything conclusive about for another 2-3 years at least!
Kidding aside, the post-draft grades are a joke that I’m not going to take part in. However, we’ve spent months if not years looking at some of these prospects and forming an opinion on what we see. Obviously we’re going to have an opinion on them whenever they’re selected, right?
The Rams entered the day with ten picks, and ended up making eleven selections. Even with all those picks, it was unlikely St. Louis would address all of their needs on both sides of the ball. But did they do at least an adequate job, given the resources at their disposal? Let’s have a look.
ROUND ONE (1st overall): SAM BRADFORD, QB, OKLAHOMA
-Everyone saw this pick coming. While I preferred Suh, I understand the reasons behind the Rams choosing Bradford here. My hesitation with Sam wasn’t a question of his talent, but rather his durability. The Rams obviously don’t seem to share my concerns, so they chose him. He was the best quarterback prospect in this class and fills the Rams’ biggest position of need. He may not be an opening day starter, but I doubt we have to wait too long to see him on the field. Ultimately, while I would have been ecstatic to land Suh, I feel fairly good about Bradford. He has all the potential in the world and the determination to reach it. The only question is will he stay healthy enough to get there.
ROUND TWO (33rd overall): RODGER SAFFOLD, OL, INDIANA
-One great way of trying to keep your quarterback’s jersey clean is to invest in the offensive line. Few fans pegged Saffold as a player the Rams would target at the top of the second round, but the selection makes a lot of sense. The Rams gave Alex Barron a shot at left tackle last year, hoping he’d prove something to them. The only thing he proved was that he’s still inconsistent and lacks concentration. Saffold is a hard working veteran of the Big Ten who some felt could have snuck into the first round, and likely showed enough drive as a run blocker at the East-West Shrine game to compete for a starting job on the right side of the line this summer.
ROUND THREE (65th overall): JEROME MURPHY, CB, SOUTH FLORIDA
-The Rams have spent a fourth round or higher pick on a cornerback in every draft of the last half decade, but they still have a hole opposite of Ron Bartell. Bradley Fletcher, last year's third round pick, is expected to be the front runner for the second starting CB job, but he’ll have some competition from Murphy. Whoever loses will handle nickel duties in a division that has some receiver depth. So the need to add talent to the secondary was important, and Murphy’s value was good. However, with tight end Ed Dickson, receiver Damian Williams, and linebacker Donald Butler still on the board, I can’t help but wonder if the Rams could have gone in another direction and gotten equal if not better value at other positions of need.
ROUND FOUR (99th overall): MARDY GILYARD, WR, CINCINNATI
-As a West Virginia University alum, I watch a lot of Big East football. One guy who has really made a name for himself in the conference is Mardy Gilyard. I had Mardy pegged in the third to fourth round range, so the value here is fine. My concern is that, when I look at the Rams’ roster at wide receiver, I see a lot of players like Gilyard. And by that I mean, guys who are probably good #3 receivers, could maybe player the #2 role, but aren’t the legit #1 weapon this offense really needs. So while Gilyard is likely going to make his fair share of plays in the slot and will contribute on special teams, I don’t think his selection solves the larger vacancy on this unit.
ROUND FIVE (132nd overall): MICHAEL HOOMANAWANUI, TE, ILLINOIS
-If you’d have asked me two days ago for the names of tight ends that may be available for the Rams in the fifth round, Michael “Uh-oh” Hoomanawanui probably wouldn’t have been on the list. One reason is because I likely couldn’t have spelled it. But the second is my attention was on other prospects, like Clay Harbor, Garrett Graham, and Colin Peek. But looking at the board in round five, “Uh-oh” made a fair amount of sense. Simply put, he’s a very well-rounded player. He’s a very good blocker with good size for the position, but he’s also capable (though not particularly dangerous) as a short area receiver. Some felt the Rams should have been looking for a specialist at tight end – either a good receiver or a good blocker. Hoomanawanui is a nice mix of both, and should compete for that second tight end spot behind Daniel Fells.
ROUND FIVE (149th overall): HALL DAVIS, DE, LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE
-This is the first of three defensive ends that the Rams took in the draft, but considering their inability to get much of a consistent pass rush in 2009, some would have liked to see the defensive line addressed earlier than this. Davis posted mediocre numbers in the Sun Belt conference, and didn’t wow scouts as much as he may have liked to at the Scouting Combine. There’s athletic and pass-rush potential to be had there, so perhaps Steve Spagnuolo thinks he can develop Davis into someone resembling another Sun Belt success story, Osi Umenyiora. Still, it’s tough to see him making much of an impact when he failed to do so among questionable competition at the collegiate level.
ROUND SIX (170th overall): FENDI ONOBUN, TE, HOUSTON
-By drafting Onobun, the Rams become one of a number of teams that elected to take two tight ends in the 2010 draft. In Onobun, the Rams got something of a project. He has very little experience playing football, with two career receptions for Houston last season. Prior to that, he was a four-year basketball player at Arizona. But Onobun turned up on a number of teams’ radar by posting some very impressive pro-day numbers: a 4.45 second forty time, a 37 1/2-inch vertical jump, and an 11-foot, 1-inch broad jump. When you’re picking this late, why not take a guy with amazing athletic ability and see what happens? Onobun is probably more likely to become Jai Lewis than he is Antonio Gates, and likely ends up on the practice squad in 2010. But the Rams get credit for at least taking the chance.
ROUND SIX (189th overall): EUGENE SIMS, DE, WEST TEXAS A&M
-Wow, the Rams must really like something about the Buffs. First, they tap their program for Keith Null, and now they double dip for Sims, a guy who really wasn’t on anyone’s radar. I don’t really know what to make of this pick. I have a hunch that, while doing some research on Null, the Rams caught some information about this guy and kept tabs on him. He was the Lone Star Conference South Defensive Lineman of the Year for the second year in a row, so there may be something to work with there. But does this guy even get drafted if the Rams don’t nab him? They may have taken him to prevent another team from making him a free agent signing, but I’d be surprised if he makes the team’s final roster in September.
ROUND SEVEN (211th overall): MARQUIS JOHNSON, CB, ALABAMA
-I’m fairly satisfied with this pick, even though the Rams decided to go cornerback in the third round. What I like about Johnson is that he was the third corner for a national championship team, and the two guys in front of him went in the first and second round respectively. He’s played against a top level of competition under a well-respected head coach, so he’s going to come to this team ready to compete. And compete he will, likely against Justin King and Quincy Butler for dime and quarter duties at the position. Johnson has an uphill battle if he wants to make this roster, but his experience makes him a worthwhile investment this late in the lottery.
ROUND SEVEN (226th overall): GEORGE SELVIE, DE, SOUTH FLORIDA
-The Rams take their second South Florida player of the day, which isn’t shocking when you consider they invited former Bulls head coach Jim Leavitt to the Scouting Combine to evaluate prospects. Selvie is a guy who was widely regarded after a phenomenal sophomore seasons, but injuries and Jason Pierre-Paul kind of took him out of the limelight. It’s hard to argue with a late round pick that’s been as productive with as much pass rush ability as Selvie has, but will he ever regain that sophomore form? Hard to say, but he’s absolutely worth taking at this point in the draft, as I felt he could have gone two rounds earlier.
ROUND SEVEN (254th overall): JOSH HULL, LB, PENN STATE
-Last year’s Mr. Irrelevant saw significant time on the playing field, but I don’t think we’ll see a repeat with this year’s Almost Mr. Irrelevant. Hull is a bit limited athletically, but has the size and smarts that the Rams coaching staff likely appreciates. Considering the only depth behind James Laurinaitis at middle linebacker is Dominick Douglas, who was on and off the practice squad multiple times last year, there’s certainly a spot to compete for. Coming from a school like Penn State, known for producing NFL linebacker talent, Hull just might win that competition.
Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with the job the Rams did over the course of the three-day draft. All indications are they stuck to their draft board and took the best available prospect at a position of need. They added offensive starters in Bradford and Saffold, while players like Murphy and Hoomanawanui could become starters down the road because of holes at their respective positions. Gilyard will provide depth at receiver while competing for a role as a return man, and rest of the lot will compete for depth spots on the roster.
There were a couple of instances where the Rams seemed to prefer a lesser name over a prospect more well known to the fans, but this organization does more ground work on these players than any of us have ever hoped. Some will work out, and some won’t. But the Rams are in a much better position than fans to make an informed decision about these prospects, and all accounts are they had a plan and followed it.
We won’t know if the Rams hit or missed on these prospects for another couple of years, but there’s enough here to be optimistic about the direction of the team and those making the decisions entering the 2010 season.
Re: Draftravaganza 2010 is over! Time to see how we did!
Nice objective, sensible review. Certain writers from the major media outlets could learn from you.