2015 Draft in Review: St. Louis Rams
The NFL draft is over and it suddenly seems like a long time to wait for the next meaningful event on the NFL calendar. But frankly we’re still excited trying to break down what it all means for each team and so we’re going to share some of that excitement.
That’s right every team is going to have each pick broken down as well as a look at their undrafted free agents. Up now? The St. Louis Rams who finished last in the NFC West for the sixth time in the last decade. They added to their strength on the defensive line in free agency, but how well did they build to move off the bottom of the division with their other picks?
Round 1: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Suspension and injury severely limited Gurley’s playing time at Georgia last season, but his talent as a runner was clear enough to see for the Rams to take him just inside the top ten, at the expense of filling a more pressing need at wide receiver. On only 123 carries, Gurley forced 37 missed tackles and gained close to four yards per carry after contact.
Depth Chart Fit: Should start at running back as soon as his surgically repaired knee allows him to.
Round 2: Rob Havenstein, OT, Wisconsin
A big, powerful offensive lineman who helped pave the way for Melvin Gordon’s record breaking season. Havenstein opened the season with a positive run blocking grade in nine of his first ten games. However, a slow finish to the season against the likes of Iowa, Ohio State and Auburn, may have raised questions over his ability against top competition, and his subpar Senior Bowl didn’t answer them.
Depth Chart Fit: Will be under pressure to slide straight in at right tackle as the Rams re-tool their offensive line.
Round 3: Jamon Brown, OT, Louisville
Entering draft day the Rams only had one starting spot on the offensive line secured, and in Brown, who may slide inside to guard for the Rams, they double-dipped on the line on Day 2. Like Havenstein, Brown excelled as a run blocker this season, earning a run blocking grade above +1.0 in seven games.
Depth Chart Fit: With the Rams line in a state of flux, Brown will get an opportunity to compete for playing time at a couple of spots.
Round 3: Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State
Perhaps no selection better illustrated the dire need for quarterbacks with experience of NFL systems, than the Rams selection of Mannion. An inconsistent senior season for the Beavers saw Mannion earn a negative passing grade in six games (including the Senior Bowl), with his low point coming against in-state rival Oregon.
Depth Chart Fit: Nick Foles seems destined to start, but after poor performances for Austin Davis last season, Mannion should get the opportunity to supplant him as the backup.
Round 4: Andrew Donnal, OT, Iowa
The Rams re-tooling of their offensive line continued with the linemate of Brandon Scherff. While Scherff took all the plaudits and attention, Donnal graded at a comparable level overall and actually a little better in pass protection.
Depth Chart Fit: A possible candidate to slide inside to guard like Brown, Donnal figures to be in the mix for backup roles, but has little above him to prevent him earning playing time if he performs well.
Round 6: Bud Sasser, WR, Missouri
The transfer of Dorial Green-Beckham left the way open for Sasser to take on the lead role in Missouri’s receiving corps, and he made the most of it. Never earning a receiving grade below -0.6 last season, Sasser tied for seventh in the class with five touchdowns on deep passes.
Depth Chart Fit: The Rams receiving corps has been disappointing for some time, and Sasser will have the opportunity to claim a roster spot and climb the depth chart.
Round 6: Cody Wichmann, G, Fresno State
Earning the fourth-highest grade among guards in this draft class, Wichmann is something of a find for the Rams this deep in the sixth round. The caveat is that he earned his grade against the Mountain West Conference, and he struggled as a run blocker (though not in pass protection) in one of his more testing encounters against Nebraska. The Rams will hope he can build on his consistently strong displays from conference play.
Depth Chart Fit: The Rams upheaval on the offensive line is leaving a lot of jobs, both starters and backups, open for the likes of Wichmann to claim.
Round 7: Bryce Hager, LB, Baylor
A productive linebacker for the Bears last season, Hager graded solidly in coverage but was particularly strong in run defense, only earning a negative grade three times. His 52 stops were tied for 16th-most in the class among linebackers.
Depth Chart Fit: The Rams starters are settled at linebacker, so Hager will have to prove his worth as a special teamer to help secure a roster spot.
Round 7: Martin Ifedi, DI, Memphis
On limited snaps, Ifedi graded extremely well for the Tigers last season, with good grades as both a run defender and pass rusher in spite of missing much of the start of Memphis’ season. He showed his potential further with a strong showing in run defense, with four stops, in the Shrine Game.
Depth Chart Fit: The Rams have strength and reasonable depth up front, Ifedi will have to shine in pre-season to snag a roster spot.
Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas: His 24.8 Elusive Rating was 56th best in the draft class.
Zach Laskey, RB, Georgia Tech: Forced 26 missed tackles on the season and only failed to break at least one, against Clemson, a game in which he registered only four carries.
Tyler Slavin, WR, New Mexico Highlands: A Division II player, Slavin did not play against FBS opposition this season.
Imoan Claiborne, CB, Northwestern State: Recorded a pass defense and surrendered only two catches for 18 yards against Baylor in Week 2.
Bradley Marquez, WR, Texas Tech: Earned the highest blocking grade among draft-eligible wide receivers.
Jacob Hagen, S, Liberty: Played 133 of his 152 snaps against FBS opposition (two games) at free safety, only 14 snaps at strong safety and five covering the slot.
Jay Hughes, S, Mississippi State: Played 346 snaps as a free safety, 70 as a strong safety, 59 covering the slot and a solitary snap as an outside corner.
Darrell Williams, OT, South Florida: Allowed only 12 pressures in pass protection, not surrendering a hit or a sack until his 11th game of the season.
Cameron Lynch, LB, Syracuse: Rushed the passer 118 times, recording 10 sacks, two hits and 15 hurries.
Isiah Ferguson, WR, Arkansas-Pine Bluff: Targeted three times in his one game against FBS competition (at Texas State), Ferguson caught one pass for eight yards; one pass was overthrown, the other target fell incomplete due to a hit by a defender.
Matt Longacre, ED, Northwest Missouri State: A Division II player, Slavin did not play against FBS opposition this season.
Terrence Franks, RB, Texas State: Of the 284 yards that Franks gained on only 15 carries against Idaho, 165 came before contact and he broke only one tackle.
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