With the the start of the new year, it’s important to look back on the season that was. And in 2017, the Rams draft class played a significant role in the club’s overall success. The following list describes how each member of the 2017 draft class performed in his rookie season:
*TE Gerald Everett — Round 2, No. 44 *
Everett joined Tyler Higbee to give the Rams two, young pass-catching tight ends. The South Alabama product recorded several impressive catches throughout the season, showcasing his movement and agility in the open field — even as a big-bodied tight end. He finished the year with 257 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.
WR Cooper Kupp — Round 3, No. 69
The former Eastern Washington standout was one of the Rams most impressive rookies, and all-around receivers this season. From Week 1, Kupp established himself as a crisp route-runner who can make moves in open space.
And although he did have a few key drops throughout the regular season, he bounced back well from adversity and was overall extremely productive. The wideout recorded 62 catches for 869 yards and five touchdowns — setting the franchise record for most receptions by a rookie in a single season.
*S John Johnson III — Round 3, No. 91* **
Johnson started out the season as a key rotational piece in the Rams secondary, but by Week 5, the Boston College product had taken over the starting role. In his first career start, Johnson picked off Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. And from the point forward, he has continued to be an important contributor on defense — recording 91 tackles and 11 pass breakups.
WR Josh Reynolds — Round 4, No. 117
Reynolds impressed early on during training camp, showcasing his good hands and ability to stretch the field. But with of the Rams’ stacked receiving corps, Reynolds did not see too many snaps in his rookie season. The wide receiver, however, did make the most of the opportunities he was given. When veteran Robert Woods went down with a shoulder injury midway through the season, Reynolds filled in nicely, recording his first career touchdown. In all, he finished the season with 11 receptions for 104 yards.
OLB Samson Ebukam — Round 4, No. 125
Ebukam showed strong growth during his rookie season, learning from veteran outside linebackers like Connor Barwin and Robert Quinn. Throughout the first six weeks, Ebukam’s impact came primarily on special teams —
where he was given extensive playing time — but he became a solid rotational piece on defense as well. When Barwin broke his forearm in November, the Eastern Washington product filled in and flashed his speed and strength off the edge. In 16 games, Ebukam recorded 38 tackles, 2.0 sacks, three quarterback hits, and one forced fumble.
DT Tanzel Smart — Round 6, No. 189
The Tulane product — like most NFL rookies — had his share of ups and downs this season. Under coordinator Wade Phillips 3-4 defensive scheme, the Rams experimented with both Smart and defensive tackle Ethan Westbrooks as a complement to Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers. Smart stepped in well at nose tackle through 16 games and four starts, recording 18 tackles, one quarterback hit, and one pass breakup.
FB Sam Rogers — Round 6, No. 206
It’s not often that an NFL team drafts a full back, but head coach Sean McVay saw something special in Rogers. Rogers spent training camp on the active roster, but was cut in roster reduction to 53 players at the start of the regular season. But he has since been signed to a futures contract and will begin the offseason program on the active roster.
*DE Ejuan Price — Round 7, No. 234 *
The Pittsburgh product spent the first 12 weeks of the season on Los Angeles’ 53-man roster, but was active for just one game. Like Rogers, Price also signed a futures contract with the franchise and will be on the team for the start of the offseason program.