I’m not a huge fan of grading drafts before we have actually seen any of the players on the field in the NFL, but as instant draft grades are all the rage, I felt I should put in my two cents. When I look back at the 2011 draft for the Rams, I have to admit that I’m pretty happy with what the team did. As much as I love the draft, I find that my biggest flaw in analyzing it is falling in love with certain players. When I fall in love, and the Rams pass on that player for someone else, it skews my judgement and causes me to hate the pick. That’s why, after taking a step back, I am in a much better place to give an honest assessment of what this team did.
Round 1 – Robert Quinn – (A) Other than Julio Jones somehow being there at 14, I don’t think the first round could have gone better for the Rams. Quinn has all the tools to be a monster pass-rusher at the NFL level, and he and Chris Long should form one of the better DE tandems in the NFL for years to come. Quinn was at the top of my wish list two years ago, and I love the fact that he is on this team.
Round 2 – Lance Kendricks – (C+) I understand why they made this pick, and I think Kendricks could be a very nice weapon for Bradford and Co. immediately, but I just think this was a reach. If the pick were Kyle Rudolph, who was taken a few picks earlier, I would be completely fine with it, but I just don’t know if Kendricks is worth a second round pick, especially considering the players who were available at positions of bigger need.
Round 3 – Austin Pettis – (B-) I was tempted to give this a lower grade because I think it was a pretty big reach as well, but I actually think Pettis is a nice fit on this team. He is a big receiver who will be a red zone threat, and more importantly, the kid knows how to play the position and he is a winner. This was a safe pick, and I have no problem with that considering where this team is in the rebuilding process.
Round 4 – Greg Salas – (B) Salas is kind of an interesting pick to grade as well. He was a production machine in college, and he is another guy who obviously knows how to run a route and play the position. I love his hands, but I just wonder if he is just another guy in this receiving corps. What will he do that allows him to stand out over guys like Brandon Gibson or Laurent Robinson? I think he was good value in the 4th, but we will see if he is able to make an impact.
Part 2 will look at the final four picks of the draft, so stay tuned.