Morgan Epstein grades the Los Angeles Rams 2016 NFL Draft. Does Los Angeles have a bright future after drafting Jared Goff with the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft?
1. Jared Goff, QB, California B+ Grade
The Rams needed a starting quarterback more than anything. I think Goff will make this team better and be a franchise quarterback in the NFL. At the same time, the Rams gave up too much to get him.
It's hard to justify giving this an A or A- grade when you gave up so much to get Goff. Goff should start week 1 and I think he will have an easier transition to the NFL then Wentz, but Los Angeles may have sacrificed too much to get Goff.
110. Tyler Higbee, TE, Western Kentucky B- Grade
Western Kentucky's Tyler Higbee may have potential to be another Travis Kelce. He also has some off the field concerns though.
If Higbee pans out this will be a great pick. Releasing Lance Kendricks saves the Rams $4-million dollars and with no dead cap counting against Kendricks Salary Cap, Higbee could be the #1 tight end if he keeps his head on straight assuming he ceases his opportunity when the Rams put him on the field, but for now he will begin his career as the #2 tight end on the depth chart.
117. Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina A Grade
Pharoh Cooper has the speed and route running that you look for in a top receiver. Like Higbee, Cooper can make one-handed catches.
Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt will both be on the outside when healthy. Cooper will most likely compete with Stedman Bailey for a slot receiver job in 2016. Cooper can also play special teams as a return man if he doesn't win the slot receiver job.
177. Temarrick Hemingway, TE, S.C. State C Grade
South Carolina State's Temarrick Hemingway seems like a blocking tight end at best. Either way, he's gonna start out as the #3 tight end on the depth chart.
At first, he will mainly sit on the bench, unless the Rams use a 3 tight end set on goal line plays. If the Rams part ways with Kendricks, then Hemingway has a chance to move up to the #2 tight end on this depth chart behind Higbee.
190. Josh Forrest, MLB, Kentucky C+ Grade
The Rams lost James Laurinaitis. They need help at middle linebacker. The thought of Bryce Hager and Josh Forrest competing for the starting middle linebacker job should scare you unless the Rams convert Alec Ogletree to middle linebacker after drafting him with a 2013 first round pick.
206. Mike Thomas, WR, Southern Miss A Grade
Mike Thomas had 71 receptions, 1,391 receiving yards, and 14 receiving touchdowns in 2015. The 6-1 200 lb wide receiver should beat out Brian Quick for a roster spot. It's uncertain if he starts right away.
Thomas should make a roster spot. He can sit out a year, and probably come in and replace Kenny Britt in 2017 when Britt's contract expires assuming he beats out the undrafted receivers that got on the Rams like Nelson Spruce, WR, Colorado, Marquez North, WR, Tennessee, and Paul McRoberts, Southeastern Missouri State. Beating out those receivers and Quick for a roster spot determines where Thomas stands on the Rams depth chart.
Los Angeles Rams Team Grade: A- Grade
Getting all of those weapons for Jared Goff sort of bumps his grade up from a B+ to an A- grade. The Rams put a huge focus point on maximizing the passing game for Goff and his receivers. At the same time the Rams needed a center, fullback, and a free safety. Los Angeles ignored all of those needs plus they don't have a 2017 first round pick.
It's gonna be hard to find starters at those positions in 2017. At the same time, the Rams need starters at those positions before they can contend. What the Rams do with Goff will ultimately determine the fate of GM Les Snead and HC Jeff Fisher. It's pretty clear the Rams want to contend right now after investing so much in the passing game. I don't feel like this is a playoff team yet, but that may be the mindset of where this team stands in the eyes of Snead and Fisher.
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