The 2018 NFL Draft may have come to a close, but the conversation surrounding the league’s most important offseason event is just getting started.
For the second-consecutive year, the Rams were without a first-round draft pick. But that didn’t stop general manager Les Snead from bringing in a significant haul — selecting 11 players throughout the second and third days of the draft.
And while it is nearly impossible to evaluate the class of players before they actually hit the field in 2018, it is worth taking a look at what some the top draft analysts had to say about the club’s latest additions.
Here’s a roundup of where draft analysts graded the Rams 2018 class:
Check out photos of Rams 3rd Round selection Joseph Noteboom, OT, TCU.
Credit: AP Photo and TCU
ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper: **](http://www.espn.com/nfl/draft2018/insider/story/_/id/23346039/nfl-draft-grades-mel-kiper-all-32-teams-picks-2018)
Overall Grade: B -
“It's tough to grade this Rams draft because they had only one pick on the first two days. Their first-round pick (No. 23) is essentially wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who is already a productive NFL player but will be looking at a massive contract next offseason. Still, consider that Cooks is just 24 years old, and no wide receivers were taken ahead of that No. 23 slot. We also have to factor in the additions of cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, who cost late picks in this draft. They're good players -- for 2018, at least.
Joe Noteboom (pick 89), who started 40 games at TCU, at both left and right tackle, is a good developmental player for a team with an aging offensive line -- left tackle Andrew Whitworth turns 37 during the season. Brian Allen (111) gives them center depth, where John Sullivan turns 33 before Week 1. I like Obo Okoronkwo (160), and Wade Phillips is going to set him loose off the edge in his 3-4. Micah Kiser (147) and Justin Lawler (244) were two more who stood out on a busy Day 3.
Snead has clearly placed an emphasis on finding underrated talent in Rounds 4-7, and he could have some finds here. I just don't know how many of them will be able to contribute as rookies.”
*Overall Grade — Average *
“Day 2: With just one pick to play with over the first two days of the draft, the Rams didn’t come on the clock until the 89th pick of the draft, and they used that to select Joseph Noteboom, an offensive tackle out of TCU. With Andrew Whitworth over 35 years of age and coming off a season in which he looked mortal for the first time in a while, Noteboom makes a lot of sense as an insurance policy. Noteboom allowed just 13 total pressures in his final year at TCU, and that gave him his second strong college season of pass protection. Run-blocking has been more of a challenge for him, but that has never been less of an issue in the NFL given how much the league is pass first in 2018.
Day 3: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo could prove to be an important player for a team in need of edge rush. He had 10 sacks and 47 total pressures in 2017. John Kelly is an intriguing smaller back that runs with power and determination, breaking 37 tackles last season. They went back to the well at edge with Trevon Young in Round 6 as Young had 40 total pressures in 2017.”
[**NFL.com’s Chad Reuter
Overall grade: A -
“The skinny: Les Snead pulled the trigger on a trade with the Patriots to land receiver Brandin Cooks, giving up the team's first-round pick and swapping a sixth-rounder for a fourth-round selection. Jared Goff is already thriving under coach Sean McVay, and now he has a very reliable pass-catcher in Cooks. This is a "win-now" move, which makes more sense than relying on a rookie receiver to help the offense. Finally able to pick in the middle of the third round, the Rams get a swing tackle in Noteboom, who showed impressive movement last season. This was a good pick for a team needing depth at the position… Franklin-Myers is an interesting edge rusher whom I valued as a top-150 pick. Kiser could take Ogletree's starting spot in 2018. The Rams went nuts on edge rushers later, but all had good value. Kelly is also a strong pick in the sixth round.”
Overall Grade: C -
“The Rams didn't have a first-round pick (traded away to get receiver Brandin Cooks from the Patriots) or a second-round pick (traded away for a one-year rental on Sammy Watkins). Their first pick in this draft was in the third round and they used it on TCU tackle Joseph Noteboom, who is the down-the-road replacement for Andrew Whitworth. Fourth-round center Brian Allen was taken as the player who will likely take over when veteran John Sullivan is done. Sixth-round running back John Kelly could be a nice backup to Todd Gurley.”
Overall Grade: A -*
“The Rams’ draft class is basically Brandin Cooks, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Los Angeles didn’t have a pick in the first two rounds due to trades. And the Rams did fine finding lower-cost offensive line and edge rush help with what they had. One interesting pick is Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, who was an outstanding edge rusher for Oklahoma and fell to the fifth round. The same can be said for Micah Kiser, an inside linebacker who was a tackling machine at Virginia and came in the fifth round. John Kelly is the type of late-round running back who could return a lot of value, and the Rams need someone behind Todd Gurley. While trading picks for veterans in a salary-cap league has its downside, the Rams aren’t complaining.”
Overall Grade: C
“Very hard to peg this. GM Les Snead gave up his first-round pick for WR Brandin Cooks, who's currently under contract for one more year. Snead used his second rounder last year in a trade for WR Sammy Watkins, and that turned out to be a rental. In terms of players Snead actually drafted, fifth rounders Micah Kiser, an inside linebacker, and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, an edge player, may have the best chance to play now.”
Overall Grade: B
“The Los Angeles Rams made a pointed effort to address each of their major needs. They threw most of their assets into the trenches, with the lone skill-position selection being running back John Kelly. The former Tennessee ball-carrier can earn his way into a backup job behind Todd Gurley, which is fantastic return on a sixth-round pick.
Two of their fifth-round picks could start on defense, as both Micah Kiser and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo are pro-ready players entering positions needing talent. Both are plus athletes who have compensated well for their lack of ideal size. But defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will get the most out of them in 2018 in significant roles.
The rest of their draft added vital depth to the offensive and defensive lines. With multiple free-agents along both next year, they must develop from within to replace departing talent.”
Check out photos of Rams 4th Round selection Brian Allen, C, Michigan State.
Credit: AP Photos and Michigan State
*Overall Grade: C *
“They entered the draft with major needs at defensive end and, because of Alec Ogletree’s trade to the Giants, linebacker. But short on picks after trading for Brandin Cooks and Marcus Peters this year, the Rams didn’t address those areas until they drafted defensive end John Franklin (who may not be a pure edge rusher anyway) late in the fourth round and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo in the fifth round. Normally, that’d be grounds for a reprimanding, but drafting offensive line with their first two picks makes sense for this reason: Three O-linemen—Rob Havenstein, Jamon Brown and Rodger Saffold—are in contract years, and the other two—Andrew Whitworth and John Sullivan—are feeling their age. Personnel changes up front are looming in 2019, and all those fancy L.A. skill position players mean little without an O-line that allows the offense to function.”
Overall Grade: B -
“The first choice was a decent one, as Joseph Noteboom is an athletic tackle who could one day replace Andrew Whitworth. However, the next two picks, center Brian Allen and defensive end John Franklin-Myers, were both major reaches. Franklin-Myers wasn't even considered to be anything more than a seventh-round prospect by some teams, yet the Rams selected him in the fourth frame.
Things seemed pretty dubious for the Rams, but they began making some solid choices. Linebacker Micah Kiser, running back John Kelly and guard Jamil Demby were all quality value selections who filled needs. The best pick was arguably edge rusher Ogbo Okoronkwo, a third-round prospect who fell to No. 160 overall. The edge rush was the Rams' greatest need heading into the 2018 NFL Draft, and Okoronkwo could compete for a starting role as a rookie.
Considering the Rams didn't have a pick in the first two rounds, they did relatively well. I hated two of their initial three picks, but their third-day drafting was strong.”