2024 NFL Draft Tracker: Grading every LA Rams pick and trade

Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams
Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

There was a time in the 2023 NFL season when the LA Rams appeared to be on track for a Top-5 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Of course, the Rams were limping into their Week 10 BYE with a record of 3-6, and after the 2022 5-12 season, were in the midst of an 8-18 meltdown. But the team managed to rise from the ashes like a mythical Phoenix and salvaged their season with a 7-1 finish to end the year at 10-7.

The result not of that run not only resulted in a surprise appearance in the Wild Card Round of the 2024 NFL Playoffs, but the surge of success pushed the team's draft position firmly out of the Top-10 picks of the draft all the way to the 19th overall pick and the similar position in each round. The team were also awarded five compensatory draft picks in this draft. One was awarded in Round 3 of the 2024 for the loss of DC Raheem Morris to become the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. The remaining four picks, three in Round 6 and one in Round 7, were awarded due to loss of free agents in the 2023 offseason.

While the team surprised with success in 2023, the roster needs another infusion of competitive and competent talent this season, specifically on defense, as the team seemed to struggle to finish off teams as the season drew on.

Even as the Rams invested heavily in the offensive line, secondary, and depth in the 2024 NFL Free Agency market, the team allowed much of the work to be done for the overall defense to rest in the draft. So how has that strategy worked out? Let's check on thow GM Les Snead has been doing:

2024 NFL Draft: LA Rams draft picks

Round 1, No. 19:

The LA Rams had a lot at stake as they readied for their first Day 1 selection in an NFL draft since 2016. Unlike last year's draft, the team has more specific needs in terms of where this team needs to focus selections. And as fate would have it, the strength of the 2024 NFL Draft was not as aligned with the needs of the team as 2023. With that in mind, the team had to be prepared to draft up, to draft back, and to stand pat and select a prospect.

As luck would have it, one of the top prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft fell to the Rams at the 19th overall pick. The Rams truly had an obvious need for either a defensive lineman or an edge rusher. Oftentimes, the presence of an obvious and predictable need can lead to a bad turn of events as the draft progresses. But as luck would have it, Round 1 of the draft focused exclusively on offensive players through the first 14 picks of this draft. Even as three of the next four picks selected defensive players, the Rams still had an abundant selection to choose from at the 19th overall pick.

The Rams selected Florida State outside linebacker Jared Verse. And he is very much competing for a starting role in this defense.

NFL Draft Profile. player. Jared Verse. Jared Verse. NFL Draft Buzz. Florida State. 51. 19. Jared Verse draft profile. Edge rusher

Verse is one of the best players in the 2024 NFL Draft, almost unanimously viewed on Big Boards as one of the top two defenders available. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 254 pounds, Verse is a true starting edge rusher who immediately enters the competition for a starting role opposite veteran OLB Byron Young.

What does former Rams DL Coach Eric Henderson think?

He fills a huge and glaring need on the roster instantly, and with his presence lays the groundwork for the rest of the draft to address less urgent roster needs. We had a mock draft that selected Jared Verse at 19. That mock draft was overwhelmingly well received by fans, which means that there is only one grade for this pick.

Grade: A

Round 2, Trade

With the team still in the quest to find a starter on the defensive line, an early run in Round 2 that pulled four defensive tackles off the board quickly. That triggered the Rams to trade up, and for whatever the cost might be, to land at the 39th overall pick to ensure that a defensive tackle could be selected.

The cost of moving up was pretty steep, but that is based entirely on the Draft Value chart. The Rams acquired pick 39 (510 value) for pick 52 (380 value), pick 155 (29.4 value), and a 2025 Round 2 pick (300 value, discounted to 100)

The Rams were between a rock and a hard place as defensive tackles capable of starting for this team were flying off the board.

Grade: B-

Round 2, No. 39

The LA Rams entered the draft with an open mind that made trading up, trading back, or standing pat viable options in each round. In Round 2, the team pulled the trigger and traded up from the 52nd overall pick to the 39th overall pick, and landed one of the most highly respected defensive linemen in this rookie class, DT Braden Fiske. Fiske is a 6-foot-4 292-pound versatile defensive tackle who projects as a nose tackle or defensive tackle, but whose strength, speed, agility, and fury allow him to be considered an option at any of the Rams' defensive linemen roles.

player. 51. Defensive tackle. 52. NFL Draft Buzz. Florida State. Braden Fiske. Braden Fiske draft profile. NFL Draft profile. Braden Fiske

Fiske is a huge fit for the Rams defense. He is young and powerful, highly productive, and has endless energy that keeps him productive until the game is over. Best of all, he was the teammate of Jared Verse at Florida State, and the two rally one another throughout the season.

I am amazed at how this team entered this draft with needs for players whose positions were not abundant and yet have already landed two to the best players in this draft on defense. Per NFL Draft Buzz's Big Board, the team landed two of the top seven player to line up on the defensive line of scrimmage.

That is absolutely a masterclass in how to draft folks.

Grade: A

Round 3, No. 83

It's clear from moves made in free agency, the team is aware of the lack of production in the red zone in 2023. So the team has been seeking ways to bolster their ability to punch it in from short yardage. The offensive line got an upgrade. The team added height and depth to the tight end room. But the Rams seemed to struggles at scoring touchdowns on the ground whenever RB Kyren Williams was off the football field.

Blake Corum. player. 51. NFL Draft Buzz. 83. Blake Corum draft profile. NFL Draft profile. Running back. Michigan. Blake Corum

Corum is very similar in size and running style to that of featured running back Kyren Williams and backup running back Ronnie Rivers. The team is more comfortable running the football with smaller runners, and the selection of 5-foot-8 205-pound RB Blake Corum continues to build a stable of runners who are are very close to the same type of runner.

Blake Corum is a touchdown scoring machine, a runner who put up 45 touchdowns in the past two college seasons. He needs to learn how to do a much better job at pass protection. But if the Rams face short yardage and goal in 2024, I expect Blake Corum will be on the football field.

Grade: B-

Round 3, No. 99

We know that the team has been focused on scoring in the red zone and looking to improve the pass rush. So far in this draft, that is exactly what the front office has done. Well, insofar as what the selected rookies have done in NCAA football careers. But one of the areas that got little attention is the fact that the Rams secondary was ranked only 23rd in terms of making opposing quarterbacks pay the price of throwing against them. The 10 interceptions put up by the Rams defensive backs was less then the 13 interceptions thrown by the Matthew Stafford, and less then half the total of front-running defenses like those of the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears.

That has to change in 2024.

It very well may. The Rams front office selected University of Miami's safety Kamren Kinchens who even with a casual quick and dirty analysis, appears to be the final piece to complete this secondaries makeover for a new season. Standing 5-foot-11 and weighing 213 pounds, you may not expect Kinchens to steal like Loki while packing the impact of the warhammer Mjolner, but that is what he delivers to the defense.

Kamren Kinchens draft profile. NFL Draft Buzz. Miami. Kamren Kinchens. player. Defensive back. Kamren Kinchens. 51. NFL Draft profile. 99

What you will love instantly is the fact that he knows how, where, and when to make his break on the football. Kinchens is not a reckless defensive back who showboats by going for big plays that allow even bigger plays against him. He is pickpocket defensive back, a master craftsman who lures the quarterback and receiver to sleep with the appearance of being open, and then he strikes like a python and takes it the other way.

But you will love Kamren Kinchens ability to make solid tackles even more. Like Kamren Curl, Kinchens is a physical defensive back who love to dish out memory-making hits early in the game to give receivers jitters for the rest of the game. And Kinchens bring a solid coverage game to special teams.

Grade: A+

Round 5, No. 154

You had to expect the team to double dip at edge, didn't you? Particularly if the guy is versatile enough to play in a two-point stand at outside linebacker or put his hand in the dirt in a three-point stance at defensive end. Well, the team landed a beauty in getting Washington State Cougar Edge rusher Brennan Jackson.

But he is not just a guy who tackles. He is a smart and passionate football player who takes on the resposibility of his role. And coming from the Pac-10, you already know that his numbers came against some of the best offensive tackles in college football.

If not for the team adding Jared Verse, I would claim that Brennan Jackson is so good that he could earn a starting role. As it is, I think that he will make a strong case to rotate onto the foortball field. He is a great bargain, and fills a position of need.

Grade: A+

Round 6, No. 196

The LA Rams are not quite ready to move away from the defensive front and select Clemson DT/NT Tyler Davis at 196. With a lot of moving parts on the defensive line, the team is wise to ensure that the defensive front can stop the run. And yes, Davis can do that as well as anyone in this rookie class of 2024

Tyler Davis slides into the nose tackle rotation for the role that Kobie Turner will vacate to slide into the void left by Aaron Donald. That will give this defense tremendous rotational strength against both the run and the pass. A huge get of need this late in the draft is what the Rams front office seems to do best.

Grade: A-

Round 6, No. 209

For many of the Rams fans, this draft was not going to fall into positive territory until the Rams drafted a kicker. Even as the team signed last year's rookie kicker Tanner Brown to return and compete once more, the team's prospects for special teams was clearly a sore spot. The team struggled more often than not in key moments, resulting in the decision to swap kickers.

It was inevitable. The Rams knew that they needed a kicker, and the truth is that there are no better placekickers in the 2024 NFL Draft than Stanford placekicker Joshua Karty, Great kicker. Solid value

Stanford. NFL Draft profile. player. Joshua Karty. Kicker. BNB football profile. Joshua Karty. Rd 7. 51. Joshua Karty draft profile

The best part of this signing is the fact that he is so confident and accomplished. I do not see him wilting under pressure. And the fact that both he and his mother appeared to have their hearts set on Karty being drafted by the Rams is all the more encouraging.

Grade: A-

Round 6, No. 213

While Texas WR Jordan Whittington may not have been on your radar scope, you can bet that the Rams selected him because they have an entire book on this guy. And that book is stuffed full of details about a collegiate wide receiver who willingly does the little things to help a team win.

Those are the type of players this team loves to invite aboard.

While college players and the agents who represent them love seeing huge statistics in their name at the end of the game, that is not always the guy who hears from the Rams front office on draft day. This team is all about placing receivers into position to catch the football. But what that receiver must understand from the get-go is that the offense does not exist merely to feature that player.

NFL Draft profile. Texas. Jordan Whittington. NFL Draft Buzz. player. 51. Jordan Whittington draft profiel. Wide receiver. Jordan Whittington. Rd 6

Whittington has Rams HC Sean McVay written all over him. He does not seek the limelight. He is not interested in grabbing a hot mike and trash-talking anyone. He puts it on the football by blocking, catching the football, and piling up yards after the catch. He is a 'we' guy. And this team loves 'we' guys.

Grade B-

Round 6, No. 217

Despite the fact that the LA Rams have invested so heavily into the interior offensive line, the team needed to address the interior offensive line even further in the draft for two reasons. On the first hand, the offensive line's level of performance rose as soon as the team invested in higher levels of talen.

But perhaps even more importantly, the team lost three interior offensive linemen in the offseason, and only added one back via free agency. That leaves new starting center Steve Avila in the lurch if anything should happen to him in terms of injury.

NFL Draft Buzz. Interior offensive lineman. Beaux Limmer. Beaux Limmer. 51. NFL Draft profile. Rd 5. player. Beaux Limmer Draft profile. Arkansas

Beaux Limmer is more than just a backup. He is the type of ferocious offensive linemen whose snarl and physicality can change the momentum of a game. Rather than block timidly, he seeks out defenders like a heat-seeking missile and explodes on them with carefully calculated high-impact contact that often sends them to the ground, but will at least re-direct them.

This team loves to stockpile big bodies, and the truth is that Limmer could be far more than a guy on the bench. Stay tuned.

Grade A+

Round 7, No. 254

Kansas State IOL KT Leveston is another solid depth selection by the team in the rounds where depth, special teams, and niche roles are crucial to creating a path to a long-lasting NFL career. What I love about offensive linemen at this point in the draft is that they have far greater intrinsic value than other positions.

While a running back, wide receiver, or even an edge rusher can be a boom or bust in Round 7, the guys who fight it out in the trenches can linger on the roster and even end up getting playing time if an opportunity presents itself. Leveston is one of those prospects who simply needs a little bit of NFL coaching polish to shine.

player. NFL Draft profile. Interior offensive lineman. KT Leveston. Rd 7. 51. KT Leveston. KT Leveston draft profile. NFL Draft Buzz. Kansas State

Leveston was a full-time college tackle who now projects as an interior offensive lineman at the NFL level. But I am not completely convinced. After all, the guy stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 326 pounds. He is a bit raw, but the teams coaching staff can correct that.

What I love most about Leveston here is the fact that he was projected on many big boards to be drafted quite early on Day 3. The fact that he was still available this late proves the depth of interior offensive linemen was quite deep. Leveston may have fallen, but he has amazing versatility and could be one of the team's swing tackles as the future of Joe Noteboom clouds beyond 2024.

Grade B