UPDATE: Michael Hoomanawanui and Quinn Ojinnaka have been released by the Rams; St. Louis has claimed Ty Nsekhe from the Colts and Shelley Smith from the Texans to fill the spots
Aside from the college they attended, another way of judging talent is through the player’s draft position. Although drafting is clearly not an exact science, with Jason Smith as a prime example, position in the draft is typically a good indication of, at least, the raw talent that a player possess. For the most part, you would like to see such a young roster filled with a good percentage of upper tier draft choice, specially Rounds 1 through 3. Here is a breakdown of the the all 59 players original draft positions:
St. Louis Rams drafting:
|Draft Round||#||Draft Round||#|
|Round 1||5||Round 5||3|
|Round 2||8||Round 6||5|
|Round 3||4||Round 7||5|
Of course, the number of undrafted players is going to be skewed by the inclusion of the practice squad players, most of which are undrafted free agents from the Rams or cuts from other teams. There are also a large number of undrafted players that come with any head coaching change, typically wanted more players that fit their specific personnel profile than are available in the first 7 rounds of the draft. This current roster is a good representation of that, with 6 players on the 53-man roster that went undrafted in this years draft alone, including DT Matt Conrath, CB Rodney McLeod and Quinton Pointer, S Matt Daniels, QB Austin Davis, and P Johnny Hekker. Add in the 9 players that were actually taken in the draft this year, excluding LB Aaron Brown who made the practice squad, and 28 percent of the active roster was playing on a college team last season.
As previously mentioned, you would like see a good portion of your roster coming from the earlier rounds. The St. Louis Rams have a fair number of first through third round players (17), making up roughly 32 percent of the roster. More impressively, is that all of our first rounder were actually drafted by the Rams, including Steven Jackson (2004), Chris Long (2008), Sam Bradford (2010), Robert Quinn (2011), and Michael Brockers (2012). Sadly, first rounders by the names of Tye Hill, Adam Carriker, and Jason Smith all fell between Jackson and Brockers, but a franchise running back, quarterback, and essentially an entire starting defensive line more than make up for those misses.
Aside from the overwhelming number of undrafted free agents, it is also typical for a new head coach to rout the team of old players who were selected by the previous regime(s). As previously mentioned, a quarter of the current team was drafted this year, but how many players are left from the dreaded Linehan and Spagnuolo eras? The Answer: There are currently 10 players left from who were drafted under Spags, but only 5 are starters, including Sam Bradford, James Laurinaitis, Lance Kendricks, Robert Quinn, and Rodger Saffold. Only one player remains from the Linehan era, which, of course, was 2008 second overall pick Chris Long. On a happier note, if you can remember back to the GSOT day, there is still one player on the roster left from the Mike Martz era, Steven Jackson.
If you did not check out the previous breakdowns of the roster by position click here or the breakdown by age and college click here. Tomorrow we will breakdown the roster by the players contract situation, as well as a couple of other random facts.