By Adam Caplan
June 1, 2012
WR, CB, DT, LG, WLB, DE
Round 1 - Michael Brockers/DT
Round 2 - Brian Quick/WR
Round 2 - Janoris Jenkins/CB
Round 2 - Isaiah Pead/RB
Round 3 - Trumaine Johnson/CB
Round 4 - Chris Givens/WR
Round 5 - Kevious Watkins/G
Round 6 - Greg Zuerlein/K
Round 7 - Aaron Brown/LB
Round 7 - Daryl Richardson/RB
WR, CB (veteran), G, WLB, DE
With a new coaching staff and revamped front office, the Rams put together a very interesting draft with their 10 selections.
First-round pick DT Michael Brockers will almost certainly start right away. While the team reportedly wanted to select WR Justin Blackmon with this selection, Brockers should provide an impact on the Rams’ defense for years to come. Brockers has a huge frame and is capable of handling more than one offensive lineman, which will come into play at the NFL level.
Second-round pick WR Brian Quick is an interesting prospect. He has good size and speed, but is coming off a very disappointing string of practices during Senior Bowl week from earlier this year. As one high-ranking NFC personnel source noted, “The step in competition from playing in a small school program seemed to be too big for him. He didn’t seem very confident in what he was doing all week.” Because the Rams aren’t deep at the position, Quick will get a chance to play early on, but whether he’ll be ready to play right away is likely going to be an issue heading into the preseason.
CB Janoris Jenkins, if he stays out of trouble, will start right away. Jenkins, who was the No. 1 rated player at his position for this draft, had major character red flags, which is why he dropped out of the first round. Jenkins has everything you could want in a cornerback from a size, speed and ability standpoint. So if he can stay on the straight and narrow path, the Rams will have gotten a steal in the second round. The last of their second-round picks, RB Isaiah Pead, is coming off of an impressive set of practices at the Senior Bowl as well as in the game itself. Pead is more of a change-of-pace back, but his versatility is what really made him an impressive prospect. He can have an impact as a special teams returner and as starting RB Steven Jackson’s backup this season. Jackson has two years left on his contract, so Pead could have a larger role in year three and beyond.
Third-round pick CB Trumaine Johnson, like Jenkins, has character red flags, but has really good size for the position. Johnson, because he’s tall, can match up well with the NFL’s bigger wide receivers, which explains why the Rams were willing to take a shot on the small school defensive back. It was essential, based on the lack of depth the Rams had at cornerback, that they addressed the position as early as possible.
Fourth-round pick WR Chris Givens, based on talent, should have been selected at least a round higher. However, because of injury (ACL tears in his right and left knees in high school) and small character concerns, he dropped until the third day of the draft. Givens has the ability to make an impact because of his speed and skill set. In fact, because the Rams are light at the position, he could get into the top-four of the rotation quite soon.
Fifth-round pick G Kevious Watkins is a developmental prospect with the upside to possibly start down the line. Watkins could possibly play right tackle, but because of his size, he projects better inside at guard. And because the Rams have next to no depth at guard, the chances of Watkins making the roster this season are probably better than first thought.
Sixth-round pick K Greg Zuerlein will take over all of the kicking duties. After the decision was made to select Zuerlein, the Rams cut veteran K Josh Brown a few days later.
Seventh-round picks LB Aaron Brown and RB Daryl Richardson are probable practice squad candidates. The undersized Brown projects to play at WLB, which is a position of weakness for the team. Richardson is an undersized but speedy back. With a strong preseason and training camp, it’s not out of the question that he pushes for the No. 3 job, but his realistic spot is on the practice squad.
The Rams addressed plenty of needs with their 10 selections, but some of those players are raw prospects and some have character issues. So expecting many of them to make an impact right away might be a bit unrealistic.