NEW YORK - APRIL 22: Quarterback Sam Bradford of the Oklahoma Soomers holds up a St. Louis Rams jersey after he was picked numer 1 overall by the Rams during the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 25, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
After an abomination of a season in 2009, the Rams faced their most important draft since they've moved to St. Louis. Two months after the picks were submitted, we look back on what the Rams did and how we feel now.
Two months have passed since the 2010 NFL Draft.
As news broke this week that the St. Louis Rams have come to terms with a majority of their draft picks, we at SB Nation felt a retrospective on what the Rams did on draft day might be the most efficient and entertaining way to waste your time until, you know, actual NFL news that doesn't involve Mike Vick and gunplay at upscale (but reasonably priced) Mexican restaurants starts to trickle into headquarters.
Round 1 - Sam Bradford (QB Oklahoma): The NFL Draft used to be infinitely more entertaining. In the late nineties and early aughts many overall number one picks were in question until the commissioner read the card. Now? The first 5 picks are pretty much locked in before the end of March. Once Sam Bradford proved his arm wouldn't completely disintegrate into a poof of dandelion spores when he threw a football, the Rams fell hard for their Sooner heartthrob. Since the draft, most news has been positive. He's picking up the offense quickly. He's ready to sign a contract before training camp. He loves St. Louis and the Blues... so the Rams have done the logical thing and announced that they're going to do everything they can to make sure he isn't the starter week one.
Of course. Only the Rams would piggyback a philosophy that worked for one QB (Donovan McNabb) 12 years ago and hold it as gospel truth in 2010. You know, because the NFL doesn't change all that much in 12 years. Honestly, I sometimes wonder if the Rams have anyone that tells the people that work at Rams Park stuff like: "Hey! You finally did something right—don't be so quick to crap all over it!"
They don't. So the Rams have committed to losing at least 4 games before the maturation of their cornerstone player can begin. Figures.
Round 2 - Rodger Saffold (OT Indiana): You know what the Indiana Hoosiers are good at? Being horrible at football. So perhaps Spags and Billy D. had a feeling that Roger would fit right in with the Rams?
At least he must have gotten rave reviews from scouts, right? After all, the 33rd pick is really like the last first rounder. And with the day off between rounds, the Rams had time to really think on this one... "He didn't show elite power and doesn't have as much athletic ability as some of the other tackles in this class, and he'll have to move from the left side to the right side."
Wow. Don't make me blush, ESPN. I mean, I can't take all this good news at once.
Let's be brutally honest here, friends. Unless this Saffold kid and Jason Smith become Pro Bowl-caliber OT's, then that Bradford pick above isn't going to mean squat. We can argue about whether a pick like Illinois WR Arrelious Benn would have been more beneficial to the Rams. But the O-Line has been awful for the Rams for years, and spending premium picks on tackles isn't bad. Unless you pick the wrong guys.
Paging Alex Barron. Alex Barron to the bust line.
Nine weeks later, I can't shake the feeling that even though Saffold had a late round one grade, the curse of the Rams' picks over the past 10 years will be too be too much for him to take.
Round 3 - Jerome Murphy (DB South Florida): Jerome Murphy's biggest weakness? He wasn't a WR. Hand your little sister the WR depth chart for the Rams and watch her face. She hates football, and she knows that Donnie Avery and some other guys just isn't going to cut it in the NFL.
Your feelings on Mr. Murphy's pick depends on how much faith you have in the Rams' defensive coaches' ability to develop talent. Clayton Lopez (DB's), Andre Curtis (Secondary), and Ken Flajole (Defensive Coordinator) are your teachers. Can they take a very raw but physically imposing talent and mold him into an intimidating force?
Perhaps. Then again, he could be a poor man's Tye Hill.
Round 4 - Mardy Gilyard (WR Cincinnati): The biggest problem the Rams have? Besides everything? Playmakers. The difference between 6-10 and 10-6 is the three or four guys on your team's roster that can make a play.
The Rams are bone-dry in this area. But while watching Mardy Gilyard highlights, one thing becomes apparent—he makes plays. Yes, he's undersized. Yes, his route-running is lacking. Yes, he's already gotten mugged for a gold chain and cash before he even got a dime from the club. But the SOB makes plays.
The Rams will need to find ways to get this kid involved as much as possible. Offense, special teams... even defense if the opportunity presents itself. But whatever they do, they can't bury him at third receiver or as a slot guy and hope he's the new Keenan McCardell. Put the ball in this guy's hands and let him do what he wants.
Round 5 - Mike Hoomanawanui (TE Illinois) 10 catches. 114 yards. That's his stat line last season for a dreadful Illini team. I didn't mistype those numbers—he only caught 10 balls for 114 yards on a offense that had to pass 40 times a game to play catch-up.
What an albatross. Perhaps the Rams are benevolent souls and realize that the TE's they draft will never, ever make it in the NFL, so they're just taking guys that won't be disappointed to learn this is their fate. Could this really be true? I feel like it's that, or they're just screwing with us. But telling me that this guy is anything but taxi squad roadkill is nothing more than a slap in our face.
Round 5 - Hall Davis (DT Louisiana-Lafayette): CBS Sports has this to say: "One of the more intriguing invitations to the Scouting Combine was Davis, a fairly unproductive prospect from the Sun Belt, the conference historically producing the fewest drafted prospects in the FBS (WR Brandon Stokley was the last Cajun invited to the Combine, in 1999.) Davis never even earned honorable mention accolades from league coaches, yet found himself in Indianapolis with 300-plus of the best prospects in the country."
Most teams decided that some real gems can be found in round five. The Rams decided to take two fliers on players most scouts believe will take a huge amount of coaching to even be NFL ready.
Considering the Rams were 1-15 last season, and that the three-year progress plan is pretty standard for most head coaches in the NFL these days, do you, Rams fans, think that Coach Spags will be dedicating his staff's time and resources to making sure these two guys turn out to be pros? Or do you think it's more likely other things that may affect their job security directly would take precedent?
And that might be the biggest issue with the Rams' draft. Instead of looking for value or getting creative, they fall in love with upside and potential. But unlike top tier teams that can take a miss on a second or fifth round pick and still compete, the Rams are falling even further behind.
Obviously, we all hope that every single one of these guys turns out to be awesome. But they won't. We know this already. But if the Rams can hit on one or two of these guys? Well, at least it's a start.