Draft season is upon us as free agency quiets down and prospect watch goes into overdrive. But the reality for us is, we’re not that involved in the College side of things. That doesn’t mean we’re not fans of the draft though.
For me that means reflecting back on drafts gone by to tell you which teams made the best picks and which ones the worst. So, as I do every year, I’m grading every draft pick from 2009 through to 2011 on the PFF rating scale (-2 to +2), factoring in where they were drafted, injuries and a host of other things.
We’re moving in draft order so it’s the St Louis Rams that get the next look…
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
No such luck …
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
Move along now …
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Robert Quinn, DE (14th overall pick in 2011): The jury was out on Quinn after his first two years. He was far too inconsistent and heading for a negative Draft Grader response. Boy did he turn it round, earning the highest grade we’ve ever awarded to a 4-3 defensive end in 2013. He was simply sublime and while it may only be one year, the +77.2 score ensures I have no qualms putting him in this category.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Bradley Fletcher, CB (66th overall pick in 2009): It’s a real shame that the former third round pick couldn’t get on the field more for the Rams because of injury. He was always quietly impressive and looked a capable starter during his 1,928 snaps. Just edges into the positive category.
0.0: It could have been worse
James Laurinaitis, LB (35th overall pick in 2009): At times Laurinaitis has been better than this grade would suggest and other times worse. An every-down starter, he’s so far managed 5,435 snaps (a huge workload even for a linebacker) but his career grade of -20.1 leaves you wanting more.
Darell Scott, DT (103rd overall pick in 2009): What do you expect out of a fourth-round pick? Scott managed 786 snaps, a not unreasonable amount out of a man taken in the triple digit picks, and did well enough to pick up a +4.1 grade.
Keith Null, QB (196th overall pick in 2009): Would get on the field for 227 snaps at quarterback. Not a lot of people saw that coming in his rookie year, and while he was far from impressive, what do you expect in a sixth-round QB?
Chris Ogbonnaya, RB (211th overall pick in 2009): You don’t expect a lot out of seventh-round selections, so consider the 49 snaps Ogbonnaya managed better than the usual you’d get.
Rodger Saffold, OL (33rd overall pick in 2010): If he can stay healthy he may have a chance to move up next year. Saffold has always impressed but his 2,864 snaps just aren’t enough for a lineman with four years of play under his belt. Has demonstrated the ability to succeed at tackle and guard.
Michael Hoomanawanui, TE (133rd overall pick in 2010): Illinois Mike has gone onto have some success with the Patriots, but it all started out for him in St Louis, where he would play 549 snaps as a fourth-round pick. A competent blocker who could make just enough plays in the passing game, you felt more was to come though.
Eugene Sims, DE (190th overall pick in 2010): Has clung around on the roster where his versatility seems to have kept him about. His -34.3 career grade over 1,198 snaps tells part of the story of a pick who wasn’t ready for the playing time handed to him in both 2011 and 2012. Still he was close to a positive pick because if nothing else his 2013 showed he developed into a pretty handy run defender.
Marquis Johnson, CB (212th overall pick in 2010): Bounced between the practice squad, the active roster and injured reserve before the team gave up on him in 2012.
George Selvie, DE (227th overall pick in 2010): Would go on to have some success in Dallas, but his 317 Rams snaps were largely underwhelming.
Josh Hull, LB (255th overall pick in 2010): This seventh-rounder would make 43 appearances on defense and make five special teams tackles over three years.
Austin Pettis, WR (78th overall pick in 2011): Developed into a solid option at wide receiver in more of a placeholder role until something better comes along. Coming off a year where he saw his most significant action, his 916 yards are at least something.
Mikali Baker, CB (217th overall pick in 2011): Placed on injured reserve during his first year, he was then waived with a settlement during his rookie year.
Jabara Williams, LB (229th overall pick in 2011): Much like Baker, waived during his first year with the team.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Brooks Foster, WR (160th overall pick in 2009): Another failed solution to their wide receiver problem. He didn’t manage a snap on offense, waived before his sophomore preseason and claimed by the Jets.
Hall Davis, DE (150th overall pick in 2010): Famed for being part of a controversial trade that seemed more about saving money than faith in the player.
Fendi Onobun, TE (171st overall pick in 2010): Lasted just a year with the team where he would manage 18 snaps. Cut before the start of his sophomore team where he would bounce around the league.
Lance Kendricks, TE (47th overall pick in 2011): Has developed into a jack of all trades, but was far from a master of any. A number two tight end that was projected to be a difference maker in the passing game, this second-round pick has proved to be anything but. A below average player.
Greg Salas, WR (112th overall pick in 2011): Big things were expected but just 183 snaps were played for a man who has bounced around the league since the Rams traded him away in 2012.
Jermale Hines, S (160th overall pick in 2011): I’d like my fifth-round picks to last more than a season with the team that drafted them. Not be cut during their rookie year.
Jonathan Nelson, CB (230th overall pick in 2011): Seventh-round pick who was released from the team’s practice squad a week into the season.
-1.0: What a waste!
Sam Bradford, QB (1st overall pick in 2010): A slightly controversial one, and one that my colleagues tried to talk me out of. My issue with Bradford isn’t so much about the constant injuries, it’s that his play when he has been healthy has not warranted the first overall selection by any stretch. More dumpoff man than pocket playmaker, his 2013 season was arguably his best and even that was around the league average (+1.5 passing grade). There are excuses to be made regarding his line and receivers, but I expect more from the first pick of any draft.
Jerome Murphy, CB (65th overall pick in 2010): Would things have been different, but for missing all of his 2011 season? Perhaps. But a return of 182 snaps on a guy taken at the top of the third round is bad business.
Mardy Gilyard, WR (100th overall pick in 2010): Not many third-round receivers get on the field for just 183 snaps, especially when the guys ahead of him were hardly world beaters.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
Jason Smith, OT (2nd overall pick in 2009): Yuck. Smith was supposed to be a franchise left tackle for years to come. Instead he was a guy who would feature just 1,730 times, switching between left and right tackle, struggling to get on the field at points, and generally being a colossal bust. No surprise that he didn’t see out his rookie deal.
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
Here’s a list of every team we’ve covered
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled