NFL Draft Insiders
The 2017 NFL draft is over, and it's time to review how your favorite team fared. Where did it reach? Did it get a potential steal in Round 5? Is there a bust waiting to happen?
ESPN Insider's draft experts break down each draft class, starting with Mel Kiper Jr.'s grade, Todd McShay's favorite pick, and Scouts Inc.'s analysis on how each player fits into his new team.
Los Angeles Rams
Mel Kiper's Draft Grade: C-
Kiper: It would be a lot easier to stamp this draft grade "INCOMPLETE" and move on, because so much of it is wrapped up in Jared Goff. He is the reason they didn't have a first-round pick in 2017, and I certainly don't think it's fair to close the book on him. He had no chance last year with a lack of blocking (run or pass) and stone-handed pass-catching. If Sean McVay can unlock Goff's talent, then last year's grade and this year's grade look a lot better. In the meantime ...
Aside from the Goff issue, I just consistently saw the Rams' selections as a little bit rich. I like the plan -- go get pass-catchers for Goff -- but the value just suffered a little. I had Everett at No. 111 on my board, and he went at 44. I really like Cooper Kupp but would have gone with Chris Godwin or Josh Malone before him. Josh Reynolds can make great plays on the ball even while covered, but it was another case in which the Rams had him a bit higher than I did. John Johnson has some solid tape, but he didn't test well, and size is a question mark. I had him down as a likelier Day 3 pick.
Overall, I think the Rams were smart to go after weapons for Goff (and McVay), I just questioned value in spots. Ironically, the most important aspect to both this draft and last year's won't be Goff or these wide receivers, it'll be if the Rams can block well enough to unleash any of them.
|2/44||Gerald Everett||TE||SOUTH ALABAMA|
|3/69||Cooper Kupp||WR||EASTERN WASHINGTON|
|3/91||John Johnson||S||BOSTON COLLEGE|
|4/117||Josh Reynolds||WR||TEXAS A&M|
|4/125||Samson Ebukam||OLB||EASTERN WASHINGTON|
|6/206||Sam Rogers||FB||VIRGINIA TECH|
Todd McShay's favorite pick
Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington (pick No. 69)
I had communication with two different teams before Day 2 wondering where Kupp was going to be selected. Les Snead and staff did a good job here of knowing the board in this draft. They moved back in the second round and still got the player they wanted (TE Gerald Everett). Kupp was a hot item in the third, but the Rams decided against trading up for him, and it worked. He doesn't give the Rams the No. 1 wide receiver they sorely need, but he does provide QB Jared Goff with a reliable weapon underneath. The Rams ranked 25th in the NFL last season with a 4.8 drop percentage. Kupp should help in that regard. He has soft, reliable hands and consistently plucks the ball away from his frame.
2 (12) Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama | Highlights
What he brings: Everett is an undersized tight end who can move around the offense. He has above-average athleticism, reliable hands and the speed to stretch the vertical seams. He is a UAB transfer who didn't start playing football until his senior year of high school and still needs some developing as a route runner. Everett's best football could still be ahead of him. -- Kevin Weidl
How he fits: Everett is a reach at this point, but it comes as no surprise that the Rams targeted a receiving tight end with a high ceiling, even after taking Tyler Higbee in the fourth round last year. As the offensive coordinator in Washington, Sean McVay valued smaller tight ends who were better receivers than blockers, and they ran more three-tight end sets than most teams. It seems he's using the same approach as Los Angeles' new head coach. -- Steve Muench
3 (5) Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington | Highlights
What he brings: Kupp is not the biggest or the fastest receiver, but he is a tough player who possesses reliable hands and has a natural feel as a route runner. He is at his best working against zone coverage where he flashes excellent spatial awareness getting into open windows. -- Kevin Weidl
How he fits: The Rams continue to provide help for Jared Goff with Kupp, who is a reliable target with a great feel for the position. With the addition of Kupp, TE Gerald Everett and Robert Woods in free agency, St. Louis has started to revamp its pass-catching corps. -- Kevin Weidl
3 (27) John Johnson, S, Boston College | Highlights
What he brings: Johnson needs to continue to get stronger and become more consistent in run support. He is an instinctive and fluid athlete who shows quality range. Johnson also has the ball skills to finish when in position. Comes with some minor durability concerns from early in his career. -- Kevin Weidl
How he fits: General manager Les Snead fills a need and gets a good value at this point in the draft with Johnson. The Rams tied for 23rd in takeaways last season (18), and Johnson has the ball skills and instincts to give them a playmaker on the back end. -- Steve Muench
4 (10) Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M | Highlights
What he brings: Reynolds is quick enough to separate underneath and fast enough to stretch the field, but he's lean and needs to get stronger. He also needs to improve his consistency fielding the ball. He makes a lot of tough catches and drops too many easy ones. -- Steve Muench
How he fits: The Rams hired a young, offensive-minded head coach in Sean McVay and needed to help second-year quarterback Jared Goff, so using three of their first four picks on pass-catchers makes sense. Reynolds projects as a sub-package receiver who can help the Rams stretch the field early in his career. -- Steve Muench
4 (19) Samson Ebukam, OLB, Eastern Washington
What he brings: A team captain and highly productive FCS linebacker, Ebukam is an average-sized outside linebacker with good length, good athletic ability and excellent top-end speed. -- Steve Muench
6 (5) Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane | Highlights
What he brings: An undersized DT with shorter arms, Smart didn't run as well as expected at the combine. But he's a hard worker who shows the active hands and quickness to develop into an effective reserve in an aggressive one-gap scheme. -- Steve Muench
6 (22) Sam Rogers, FB, Virginia Tech
What he brings: Rogers, a team captain at Virginia Tech, has outstanding intangibles. He is versatile fullback who lined up at multiple spots, including tailback. He moved around the formation as a receiver and has the potential to be a core special-teams player. He's undersized with average top-end speed, though. -- Steve Muench
7 (16) Ejuan Price, OLB, Pittsburgh
What he brings: Price is a dynamic pass-rusher with active hands and good first-step quickness, but he's an undersized 3-4 outside linebacker prospect who isn't as effective in space as he is attacking upfield. Also, Price missed two seasons and the bulk of another with injuries. -- Steve Muench
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