Ever since the departure of the Rams from St. Louis to LA, a good majority of football fans in the St. Louis have both abandoned the Rams and the NFL all together. I myself, do not view the Rams as favorable anymore, but football is downright my favorite sport so I still keep up with the NFL on a daily basis. To what should be to the pleasure of now former Rams fans in STL, the Rams first offseason as the Los Angeles Rams has been a near disaster.
First of all, the Rams decided to cut two players who were absolute fan favorites in St. Louis in Chris Long and James Laurinaitis. The Rams also cut TE Jared Cook, one of the few sensible things they’ve done this offseason. Soon after, the Rams lost two key defenders to free agency. That was CB Janoris Jenkins and FS Rodney McLeod. So that’s four starters from last year’s defense, which ranked in the top half of the league in terms of points allowed, gone.
Next, Rams RB Tre Mason was arrested for traffic and drug trafficking charges in April and later on a warrant was issued for his arrest. That’s some great publicity for the organization right there. But hey, when you’re the number one running back on the team going into the offseason and then your team drafts a RB at tenth overall (in 2015), maybe you’d be doing drugs too.
Some more time passed and then exactly two weeks before the NFL Draft, the Rams made one of the worst trades in franchise history. They gave up two first round picks, two seconds, and two thirds to get the first overall pick, a fourth rounder, and sixth rounder from the Tennessee Titans. With the Nick Foles project failing and everyone knowing Case Keenum wasn’t going to be a franchise QB, it was clear cut that the Rams were going to draft a quarterback. I guess the Rams didn’t learn their lesson from the RGIII trade.
But the question was who, Jared Goff or Carson Wentz. Neither were really overly talented, they weren’t bad but definitely weren’t “once in a decade” type prospects as opposed to other quarterbacks drafted top five in recent years.
The Rams ended up selecting Goff, as everyone expected. But Goff had a losing record in college. He and the Cal Bears went 14-23 (35% winning percentage) with Goff as the starter. That winning percentage is the worst of any QB drafted number one overall in the Common Draft Era, which started after the NFL-AFL merger in the late 60s. So Goff should fit right in with the Rams.
Goff has small hands, putting him at a slight disadvantage at the quarterback position. Goff also played in the pass friendly Pac-12. In Cal’s matchups against Top 25 teams with Goff as starter, the team went 0-8. In his junior and final year of college football, Goff threw for over 4,700 yards and 43 touchdowns but Cal still went 8-5 against a mostly weak schedule. Goff has the LA type swagger but it’s questionable if he has that winner’s mentality. Goff is 6’4” but is also fragile at 205 lbs. If he doesn’t gain weight, he will be a tasty meal just waiting for a defensive lineman to eat up on Sunday’s.
Jeff Fisher is still the coach, and we all know what happened the last time the Rams had a QB drafted one overall and Fisher as the coach. Not well. Granted, Fisher did not draft Sam Bradford himself, as he was drafted in 2010 and Fisher joined the Rams in 2012 but the partnership still did not work out nonetheless.
Let’s look at the rest of the Rams 2016 draft class. After having the number one overall selection, the Rams didn’t have another pick until pick 110 in the fourth round. The Rams used that pick to draft a tight end, Tyler Higbee, from Western Kentucky who has several off the field issues and a history of injuries.
The next selection, just seven picks later, was WR Pharoh Cooper, a receiver from South Carolina. He’s a speedster with good hands but we know how the mid to late round WR picks for the Rams over the last several years have panned out. Oh wait, that’s right, none of them have.
Then their next pick in the sixth round, Fisher and GM Les Snead just thought it would be a great idea to stock up at TE and draft another one, even though other positions needed to be filled. This time, they chose Temarrick Hemmingway, from South Carolina State. But both he and Higbee are catchers and not blockers. Let’s see how that works out.
13 picks later, the Rams used the 190th overall pick on a defensive player, the only one taken by the Rams in the draft this year. They chose linebacker Josh Forrest from Kentucky, who is a decent edge rusher and is nothing more than a depth pick, if he even makes the opening day roster.
The Rams final selection was yet another receiver, Mike Thomas from Southern Miss. He’s got good hands but struggles separating himself from a defender on press coverage. I doubt he makes the team.
Overall, I give the Rams C+ at best for this draft, it’s the worst one they’ve had in recent memory. They gave up a fortune and drafted the most overhyped and overrated QB in the draft and then had to wait over 100 selections to pick again and then added some average at best players on the offensive side. The only one I truly see potential in is TE Tyler Higbee, as long as he can stay out of trouble and stay healthy.
The Rams lost several key players and had a subpar free agency period and draft. Jeff Fisher is somehow still the head coach; so there’s no way the team eclipses 8-8, if they can even get to that. New location, same old Rams. Maybe I’m a little biased because I and the rest of the city had our football team ripped away from us. Oh well, here’s to 8-8 football. Rest easy, St. Louis.