Biggest draft steals in Rams history

Los Angeles Rams, Jack Youngblood, Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Gregory Wojcik
Los Angeles Rams, Jack Youngblood, Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Gregory Wojcik / Focus On Sport/GettyImages
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Recognizable names who didn't make the cutoff

Teams with histories in the NFL as long and successful as the Rams football team have so much excellence embedded in the past that the bar for current players who may be recognizable to the fans is simply too high. While that should not diminish the accomplishments of the present day roster, it does tend to skew the perception of fans who lose sight of just how good present day players are performing.

So here are five players who have played for LA Rams GM Les Snead and HC Sean McVay, and whose contribution to the team have been significant enough to warrant mentioning in the category of NFL Draft steals"

5: ILB Ernest Jones

Drafted: 3rd Round, 103rd overall in 2021

While Ernest Jones is just entering his fourth (and final) year on his rookie contract, it's becoming more and more difficult to visualize what this defense was like before his arrival. Prior to the team investing in a quality inside linebacker, the role was filled by players who were either undrafted or drafted very late on Day 3. While they played to the best of their abilities, there was a key component missing. Either they were out of place, couldn't tackle, couldn't stuff the run, or couldn't cover passes over the middle.

Since his selection in Round 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft, Ernest Jones has improved exponentially, to the point where he recorded 145 tackles, 4.5 quarterback sacks, broke up six passes, and allowed just 70.8 percent of passes targeting his receiver to find their mark. He is a tackling machine, and he will be the veteran presence in 2024 as leader of the defense.

4: RB Kyren Williams

Drafted: 5th Round, 164th overall in 2022

As forgettable as his rookie season was, RB Kyren Williams shattered low expectation with an outstanding 2023 NFL season. Despite missing five games in 2023, he finished as the third best running back in the NFL with 228 rushes for 1,144 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also contributed 32 of 48 catches for 206 yards and three more touchdowns.

And he was selected with the 164th overall selection of the 2022 NFL Draft. That's a steal.

3: NT Kobie Turner

Drafted: 3rd Round, 89th overall in 2023

While he only has one NFL season under his belt, it's important to highlight just how NT Kobie Turner's rookie season was for the Rams. Turner started just four games for the Rams but did appear in all 17 games. He was on the football field for just 697 defense snaps and per ESPN data, he was double-teamed on 71 percent of the passing plays he defended.

So his team-leading 9.0 quarterback sacks is not only impressive, it's unheard of for a nose tackle, let alone a rookie nose tackle. But he also contributed 57 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, 16 quarterback hits and 20 quarterback pressures. He led all rookies in quarterback sacks from the nose tackle position.

2: WR Puka Nacua

Drafted: 5th Round, 177th overall in 2023

Rams rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua set the All-Time NFL Rookie Receiving Records for receptions and receiving yards. That makes him the best rookie receiver of all time in NFL history. And yet, with the 2024 NFL Draft rapidly approaching, he is already being overlooked in terms of his projected 2024 NFL season.

In one season, Nacua has already earned his spot as the 52nd-ranked Rams All-Time Career Receiving record holder. If his 2024 NFL season also records 1,486 receiving yards, he will skyrocket to the 18th-ranked Rams All-Time Career Receiving record holder. In fact, if he can sustain his amazing rookie season for 10 years, he will become the All-Time Rams Receiving Yards Record Holder.

1: K Greg Zuerlein

Drafted: 6th Round, 171st overall in 2012

Greg 'The Leg' Zuerlein was a kicker selected by the team in the 2012 NFL Draft in Round 6. He played for the Saint Louis/Los Angeles Rams for eight seasons, earning both Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in 2017. Over the course of his career, Zuerlein was a key figure for the Rams special teams, not only in powerful kickoffs that were almost always touchbacks, but he was automatic on extra points (only missing six extra point attempts in eight seasons.

After an historically difficult 2019 NFL season, the Rams did not extend Zuerlein, and he signed with the Dallas Cowboys. He is still kicking, currently for the New York Jets. But he is the gold standard by which all Rams kickers are currently judged.