Relatively speaking, the Los Angeles Rams didn’t have the most exciting weekend during the 2022 NFL draft.
While Los Angeles made eight draft picks and re-acquired defensive back Troy Hill in a trade, they didn’t make a pick in either of the first two rounds and their first selection didn’t come until the No. 104 overall pick in the draft.
Still, the Rams received grades on how they did during the 2022 NFL draft from analysts and experts around the league. Here’s how they graded the Rams’ draft class.
Top Expert Has Trouble Giving Rams a Draft Grade
ESPN’s lead NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. admitted that he was unsure how to grade the Rams considering their lack of draft capital.
“Because of trades for Matthew Stafford and Von Miller, the Rams didn’t pick until No. 104, becoming the first team since the 2008 Browns to not make any picks in the top 100 in a single draft. In fact, the Rams haven’t made a first-round pick in six years, and they don’t own their 2023 first-rounder choice, either,” Kiper wrote. “So how exactly do I grade this one? It’s tough to fill needs when the prospects you’re picking are likely to be backups.”
Kiper ended up giving the Rams a “B-,” stating he was a fan of Los Angeles’s first pick, guard Logan Bruss.
“Logan Bruss (104) has a chance to be more than a backup. My seventh-ranked guard, Bruss allowed just two sacks over the past three seasons,” Kiper wrote. “Decobie Durant (142) is only 5-foot-10, but he is a fast corner. Derion Kendrick (212) is an interesting sixth-round pick, because some of his film from 2020 at Clemson looked like he might be a first-round corner. He transferred to Georgia and was just OK last season.
“There’s really not a lot here, which means I can’t go too high. If Bruss does end up winning a starting job, the Rams would probably consider this draft a win.”
Another Expert Rewards Rams for Players They Got in Trades for Draft Picks
It’s hard to argue that the trades for Stafford and Miller weren’t key reasons why the Rams won 2022 Super Bowl.
With that in mind, NFL.com’s Chad Reuter gave the Rams an “A” for their 2022 NFL draft.
“It’s hard to argue with the results of those deals,” Reuter wrote.
In addition, Reuter also liked that the Rams used most of their draft capital to replace impact players who left in free agency.
“Picking Bruss in the third met a major need for the team in 2022 and beyond after losing Austin Corbett in free agency,” Reuter wrote.
“Durant should be a fine replacement for Darious Williams in the slot and Kendrick’s cover skills could overcome his off-field issues and lack of top-end speed,” Reuter wrote. “The Rams did bring back corner Troy Hill in an under-the-radar deal with the Browns for a future fifth-round pick. Williams is a do-it-all back who relies on savviness rather than pure speed. [Quentin] Lake and [Russ] Yeast add safety depth and will perform well on special teams. Hardy could be the Rams’ next Samson Ebukam or Chris Garrett as a small-school edge defender who excels in a designated pass rush role.”
Other Analysts Give Rams Solid or Lukewarm Grades
The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia held similar beliefs to Reuter on the Rams’ 2022 draft, giving them a “B” with credit for the results of their trades (and their draft week hype video).
“The Rams are hoping that Bruss can compete for the starting right guard spot as a rookie,” Kapadia wrote. “They also sent a 2023 fifth-round pick to the Browns to get cornerback Troy Hill back. Hill has a base salary of just $1.5 million in 2022, and he played well for the Rams in 2020 before signing with Cleveland.
“The Rams made perfectly reasonable decisions with the resources they had at their disposal.”
Los Angeles’s lack of valuable picks hurt its draft grade through the lens of Pro Football Focus. The football analytics website gave the Rams a “C+” for their draft, but it did highlight a pair of picks it liked.
“Logan Bruss has played over 1,400 career snaps at right tackle and 352 career snaps at right guard, but he projects best as a guard in the NFL,” PFF wrote. “His PFF grade has improved every year of his career and earned an impressive 82.8 PFF run-blocking grade in 2021.
“After barely playing as a true freshman in 2019, Kyren Williams has been the focal point of the offense the past two seasons. Not only in the running game but as a receiver, as well. Williams’ 77 receptions the past two years were the second-most among Notre Dame receivers. He did all that despite checking in under 200 pounds. The one red flag on his production profile is his eight fumbles over that span.”
Rams’ Draft Class Filled With Depth Pieces That Can Turn Into Future Starters
With seven of the Rams’ eight draft picks occurring on Day 3 of the draft, it’s highly unlikely that many of the players Los Angeles picked up over the weekend will make an impact in the 2022 season.
As pointed out in several of the draft grades, third-round pick Bruss could end up starting as a rookie, replacing guard Corbett, who signed with the Panthers in free agency. But outside of Bruss, no other rookie appears in line to get a starting job and if they do, it might mean that injuries led to their opportunities.
That doesn’t mean the Rams’ incoming rookies should be completely ruled out, though. Los Angeles has a good recent track record of selecting players in the middle-to-late rounds of the draft (Cooper Kupp and Jordan Fuller immediately come to mind). The Rams selected four defensive backs on Day 3, helping to fill out the depth in their secondary following the departure of Darious Williams while Donte Deayon still remains a free agent. After the Rams re-acquired Troy Hill, it’s unlikely Decobie Durant or Derion Kendrick get major playing time. However, Hill will be a free agent at year’s end and if either Durant or Kendrick can impress in whatever action they see in 2022, one of them could end up being a starter in 2023.
The same goes for fifth-round pick Kyren Williams. Running back Darrell Henderson’s a free agent at year’s end and if the Rams like what they see out of Williams, letting Henderson walk would be an easier pill to swallow.
Safety Taylor Rapp’s impending free agency could also pave way for either sixth-round pick Quentin Lake, a bigger safety, or seventh-round pick Russ Yeast to get playing time in the future.
After hitting big on their trades that sent out their first three picks in the 2022 draft, the Rams didn’t necessarily need to hit home runs with what they had. But a successful 2022 NFL draft could lengthen the Rams’ window to bring more Lombardi Trophies to Los Angeles.