Ignore LA Rams instant draft grades
By Joel Simons
The NFL draft and its surrounding festivities are an immensely exciting time. Even as a fan of the LA Rams, where we haven’t had a first-round pick since Barack Obama was president, it’s still fascinating to watch with hope as new talent pervades the league. After all, the Rams have succeeded at the draft, even without the luxury of their first-round draft pick.
However, immediately after the draft ended, analysts jumped at the chance to passionately critique picks they disagree with. To make things worse, these analysts often assign letter grades for all 32 NFL teams. I get it, if they calmly stated that in order to give accurate draft grades, they need to wait a few years to see how players fit, develop, and stay healthy, it could be less entertaining.
Anyone shaming teams this soon is missing the fact that every pick carries risk, which is a probability term for uncertainty, not a term for failure.. This uncertainty is one of the reasons why the draft is so fascinating to begin with. Handing out a draft grade immediately following said draft is implying they know exactly how that pick is going to fare in the league, without a snap being played. Are they clairvoyant?
This year, the Los Angeles Rams are consistently getting low grades, mostly due to them ignoring a perceived lack of depth overall at the offensive line and their non-response to address the void created by the exit of offensive center Austin Blythe via free agency. I will admit, it looks weird for the Rams to not take any offensive lineman, but it’s awfully early to critique their draft. Every team has a unique big board and every team has a unique strategy.
2021 NFL Draft Grades
Some pundits are saying that Louisville wide receiver Tutu Atwell, the 5-foot-9 165-pound speedster, was a reach at pick 57 due to his size, and the fact that the Rams are already loaded at that position. McVay knows that the wide receiver is not a position of need, but thought he was the best player available. Just because something is unconventional it doesn’t make it bad, TuTu may thrive under Sean McVay’s system.
If we go back to the 2014 NFL Draft, the Rams received incredible draft grades after selecting Greg Robinson number two overall and then Aaron Donald with the 13th pick. The analysts celebrated both picks, even though one ended up being a bust, while the other was literally best-case scenario. In hindsight, it’s hilarious to read these instant draft report cards because they had no idea that Robinson’s career would be so short, while Donald would go on to be voted as the top player in the league in 2019.
If the media loves your draft, these grades can be part of the fun, and a part of the hope, but take it with a grain of salt. Let’s do what the pundits should be doing and exercise patience. Management was aware of the players they passed on. They have a plan.