KNOXVILLE TN - SEPTEMBER 18: Janoris Jenkins #1 of the Florida Gators fights to bring down Tauren Poole #28 of the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on September 18 2010 in Knoxville Tennessee. Florida won 31-17. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

NFL Draft Grades: The St. Louis Rams Earn Solid Marks In 2012

The St. Louis Rams earned solid marks from even stern 2012 NFL Draft graders.

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12 Total Updates since May 4, 2012
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Rams rookies have impressed—but which ones?

The St. Louis Rams' rookies have made a big impact, but not like most people expected.

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NFL Draft Grades: How Could Michael Brockers Quiet Doubters?

The back of the St. Louis Rams' 2012 NFL Draft has graded out remarkably well, on the whole; people love the Janoris Jenkins risk, and most draft analysts are fans of at least one of Brian Quick and Chris Givens. Isaiah Pead has even earned some heat as Steven Jackson's eventual replacement. When they get knocked out of the high-B range in the average set of draft grades, it's usually for Michael Brockers, their first-round DT. What could he do to quiet the doubters?

Well, nobody's doubting he'll improve the Rams' godawful rush defense, which allowed 4.8 yards per carry last season, so that won't do it unless he's immediately outstanding at it. What it's going to take is some signs that he'll at least develop into the active pass rusher some scouts didn't see in him coming out of college.

If the Rams get the rush defense part I don't think they'll be too worried no matter what the scouts say. But if they manage to find another sterling pass-rusher on a line that already features Chris Long and Robert Quinn—well, that's the kind of thing that sells "Three Horsemen" t-shirts at the Edward Jones Dome.

More St. Louis Rams coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:

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NFL Draft Grades: Brian Quick "More Athletic" Than Justin Blackmon, Better At Football Than Albert Pujols

Obviously I'm being a little hyperbolic in excerpting Greg Cosell's positive review of St. Louis Rams second-rounder Brian QuickJustin Blackmon was dinged for his athleticism in the first place, but dinging him did, in Quick's defense, just mean he was briefly considered a Top 15 pick instead of a Top 5 pick. But it's not something I'd base a set of NFL Draft grades on, no matter how arbitrary.

Cosell goes on to tout Quick's overall set of "raw" skills, which is certainly more enticing. This is the kind of thing it's easier to handicap in the MLB Draft, when the difference between drafting raw, highly skilled players and polished college types is in the team's ability to develop those tools goofs into actual baseball players. The NFL Draft is much more compressed, and if the Rams can't find a place for Quick to contribute early they'll have a hard time avoiding the questions that followed Mardy Gilyard around after his invisible rookie season.

More NFL Draft coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:

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NFL Draft Grades: St. Louis Rams' Janoris Jenkins Among Best Draft Deals

It'll be a solid year until we actually have, you know, a professional football season to go off, but already the 2012 NFL Draft grades are out in force. It shouldn't be too surprising—if you're into the draft, you have, I think, a natural tendency toward this sort of categorizing and recategorizing already. In any case, good news for St. Louis Rams fans—Janoris Jenkins is among the top NFL Draft deals, according to the national SB Nation. So, alas, is David DeCastro, who I was hoping the Rams would take in the first round...

Okay okay—I'm back. Jenkins is the classic high-risk high-reward player, a Top 10 talent who couldn't stay clean enough in college to avoid becoming a middle-of-the-second-round talent. The question, of course, is: If he couldn't keep himself "respectable" in college, who's to say he'll do it in the NFL?

The answer: Nobody, but it was probably worth a shot, since the Rams had three picks in the second round anyway. If he can improve as much as I did between 23 and 25, he might go from scuffling in college to living on his own in a ratty apartment, writing for a sports blog!

More SB Nation St. Louis analysis of the 2012 NFL Draft, gone but not forgotten:

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2013 NFL Mock Draft: Jason Smith Has One Last Chance To Protect Sam Bradford

As soon as this year's entirely-too-early 2013 NFL Mock Draft season began—hours after draft day—the possibilities for the St. Louis Rams' first consensus pick resolved quickly into two possibilities that will be familiar to last year's draft watchers: Offensive line or wide receiver—particularly, D.J. Fluker or Robert Woods. I'm fond of the offensive line pick at the moment, because the way the Rams have acted in this year's offseason makes it clear to me that, whatever your feelings on next year's NFL Mock Draft likelihoods, they're going to give Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold just one more chance to keep Sam Bradford out of harm's way.

Smith is the bigger bust—he went No. 2 overall back in 2009—but Rodger Saffold was the more surprising disappointment in 2011; the 2010 second-rounder was coming off a very strong rookie season when injuries and ineffectiveness held him to nine starts.

Jason Smith's massive pay cut in the offseason probably earned him some slack with the fans, but it also established just how critical his situation is—he'll need to fulfill all that promise he showed at Baylor now, or he'll be doing it with some other team in 2013.

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NFL Draft Grades: Isaiah Pead Could Save St. Louis Rams' Next Draft, Too

Granted: I spent nearly all of the 2012 NFL Draft season begging the St. Louis Rams not to take Trent Richardson because I think all running backs are overrated. You my not, then, trust my NFL Draft grades, especially as they relate to Isaiah Pead, the running back the Rams eventually did take with the last of their second-round picks. But hey: Pead could save the Rams a pick when Steven Jackson finally slows down, and if he does that then the Rams' draft grade is a solid A from me, at least.

Here's how it could happen: Isaiah Pead needs to have a solid rookie season as Steven Jackson's change-up and Sam Bradford's safety valve. He needs to keep doing that as Steven Jackson declines. Then: The Rams need to not feel the need to spend a first-round draft pick on a running back who won't make nearly as many carries as Jeff Fisher or anyone else thinks he will, because they're satisfied with Pead's performance to date. Voila! Instant A+ from your local running back hater and NFL Draft grader.

More NFL Draft 2012 coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:

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NFL Draft Grades 2012: Janoris Jenkins Shows St. Louis Rams' Risky Side

Over at Rams Herd, a concise examination of the two picks most likely to influence the St. Louis Rams' 2012 NFL Draft grades: Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson, the two high-risk cornerbacks the Rams selected, making a symbolic break with Steve Spagnuolo's "Four Pillars" theory of team conduct in favor of lots of upside. If there's one thing NFL Draft grade writers like, it's upside—it has the chance to make them look brilliant in two years, and by then, if it hasn't made them look brilliant, nobody remembers.

Jenkins, at least, should pay off or cash out pretty soon. His problem isn't performance-related, and if Jeff Fisher and the Rams can keep him on the field they could have two top-of-the-line cornerbacks a year after sporting the worst secondary I've ever seen. Just that—even if Johnson, the other character-issues type, busts—would be enough for me to give this particular draft risk a high A.

More NFL Draft 2012 coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:

  • Here's a look at the St. Louis Rams' draft results, featuring links out to all the draft coverage we produced on the Rams' newest players.
  • And here, if you're interested, is the inevitable template for any St. Louis Rams-based 2013 NFL Mock Draft.
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St. Louis Rams Draft Grades: Michael Brockers Divides NFL Draft Experts

The St. Louis Rams's NFL Draft grades for 2012 have, so far, been mostly positive, but there's a lot of variance in how experts see their No. 1 overall pick, Michael Brockers. ESPN's Todd McShay focused on Janoris Jenkins when he reviewed their draft; SB Nation Studios didn't like the Rams' constant trading down, which led to Brockers, and Mel Kiper's response could best be described as ambivalent.

But: Sports Illustrated appeared to be a fan, and SB Nation proper gave the Rams an A, suggesting that the Michael Brockers pick completes a defensive line that was already looking strong. As a Rams fan, I have to say it is kind of nice to look at a unit besides "starting running back" and think, "Well, that looks about right for 10 or 11 wins." It's been a while since I've had the chance, and Brockers, with Robert Quinn and Chris Long, makes me think I'll feel that way for a while yet.

For more NFL Draft 2012 coverage, take a look at our complete 2012 St. Louis Rams draft results feature, with links to all our coverage.

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2012 NFL Draft Grades: WR Brian Quick A Reach, According To Tony Pauline

According to NFL analyst Tony Pauline, the St. Louis Rams may have picked WR Brian Quick -- already a second round pick -- too high. In his latest column, Pauline analyzes the steals and reaches in the recent 2012 NFL Draft:

Brian Quick/WR/St Louis/Pick No. 33 -- Quick offers a lot of upside and could eventually develop into a second receiver for an NFL roster. Yet the first pick of Round 2 was much too early for his services, considering the other receivers still on the board.

Quick played four seasons with the Appalachian St. Mountaineers, collecting over 3418 receiving yards. In his final college season, he caught 71 passes in 12 games for 1096 yards and 11 touchdowns.

For more on the 2012 NFL Draft, visit SB Nation St. Louis' NFL Draft StoryStream. For a complete list of 2012 NFL Draft results, visit SBNation.com. For even more comprehensive coverage of the NFL Draft, visit Mocking The Draft.

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2012 NFL Draft Grades: Todd McShay Praises Janoris Jenkins, Brian Quick Selections

The latest analysis from ESPN and Scout.com's Todd McShay suggests the Rams secured a duo of potentially unique players in the second round. McShay's latest article examines an impact player and an intriguing pick for each of the 16 NFC teams, and for the St. Louis Rams, McShay likes the picks of CB Janoris Jenkins and WR Brian Quick.

Jenkins, according to McShay, could contribute immediately to the Rams:

Impact: CB Janoris Jenkins (second) -- The risk-reward gamble is huge with Jenkins and his considerable character baggage, but anyone who saw him shut down the likes of Jeffery, A.J. Green and Julio Jones in 2010 knows just what kind of cover corner Jenkins can be. He's ready to be a starter right now...

Quick, meanwhile, promises a rougher initial product, but could offer an even greater upside.

Intriguing pick: WR Brian Quick (second) -- How steep will Quick's learning curve be coming from a small school, and can he handle the transition to NFL life both on and off the field? Some feel he could become overwhelmed in that regard, but there's no denying his impressive size and athleticism...

For more on the 2012 NFL Draft, visit SB Nation St. Louis' NFL Draft StoryStream. For a complete list of 2012 NFL Draft results, visit SBNation.com. For even more comprehensive coverage of the NFL Draft, visit Mocking The Draft.

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