The draft is over and its time to issue grades. The Michael Lombardi’s of the world are right in thinking that draft grades are a fool’s errand at this stage. That being said it doesn’t hurt to project now does it? The Rams came in needing to add linebackers and pass rushers. They also needed to add depth to their offensive line. Fortunately, Les Snead‘s trading spree last month gave them more than enough picks to do so. Still, that didn’t stop him from making even more moves and getting rid of some roster dead weight in the process. Here are 2018 Rams draft grades.
Best Pick: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma
Not only did the Rams get an incredible pass rusher but he fell to them in the fifth round when some analysts had third or fourth round grades on him. He should fit like a glove in Wade Phillips‘ system and be able to contribute right away.
Best Value/Sleeper: John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
Okoronokwo had the best value but Kelly is worth mentioning. He was a back that could easily have gone in the third, fourth, or fifth rounds but the Rams got him in the sixth. Kelly is not only a skilled runner but like Todd Gurley he can be an asset in the passing game. Gurley needs someone who can take the load off of him and Kelly could do so without the offense missing a beat.
Biggest Reach/Head-scratcher: Brian Allen, C, Michigan State
The Rams needed a center as current starter John Sullivan is on the wrong side of 30 and has back issues. The problem is they could’ve got Allen much later and addressed their need for a pass rusher. They could have taken Shaquem Griffin and added even more talent on defense. Allen in a vacuum is a fine player but not at that spot. Aaron Kromer should be able to coach Allen into a starter but that won’t be for a few years.
Biggest Need Filled:
The Rams needed linebackers and pass rushers after trading Alec Ogletree and Robert Quinn. Fifth round selection, Michah Kiser has the ability push for playing time, especially considering Mark Barron is the only quality starter currently on the roster at linebacker. Kiser would not only be a contributor as a rusher but he can be useful in pass coverage.
Projected Day One Starters:
Kelly, Kiser, and Okoronkwo are all rookies that can contribute right away. By virtue of positional scarcity, Kiser is the most likely to take an opening snap week one in Oakland.
Overall Grade: B
*As an added bonus the Rams were able to trade wide receiver Tavon Austin to the Cowboys. Austin never found a way to contribute to Sean McVay‘s offense which is something that is as improbable as a Marvel movie tanking at the box office. His massive contract got whittled down over the offseason but now they are free from him. Sure, they eat $4 million in dead money but its worth it now that both parties can get a fresh start. If they need a receiver down the road they can always go bargain hunting once summer cuts are made.