2012 NFL Draft grades continue to roll in for teams around the league and the St. Louis Rams are still the recipients of some mixed feedback. The club chose not to immediately address their pressing need at wide receiver and instead delay addressing that issue until the second round. Going defensive has been a theme for the team this offseason, but nearly every pundit across the NFL landscape expected the Rams to find a playmaker in round one.
Instead the franchise decided that defense took precedence over the league’s worst offense from last season. Selecting defensive tackle Michael Brockers after trading down and adding another second round pick to their arsenal of selections was a smart move. The Rams have pass rushers capable of pinning their ears back and getting after the quarterback, but Brockers can bring that added element of stoutness inside that the defense has been lacking.
The three second round picks are where the team really struck gold with receiver Brian Quick, controversial cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and shifty running back Isaiah Pead. Obviously no one knows whether or not these players will pan out in two to three years, but each fills a position of need with a tremendous amount of potential. Quick has plenty of upside in a big-bodied target with tons of athleticism, Jenkins is a top ten talent who slid due to off the field concerns, and Pead can provide Steven Jackson with a nice change of pace option when he is winded.
On the surface it may seem like the team failed to help out quarterback Sam Bradford enough, but in reality, Quick should be able to step in immediately as the team’s third receiver while Pead will be an instant impact player on third downs. Jenkins has so much potential to be the steal of the draft if he can stay out of trouble off the field. As always, improving a team’s defense is one of the best ways to help out the offense by giving them the ball back.
So while it may be too early to determine a definitive grade for the Rams’ 2012 draft class, the team did what was necessary in tending to some pressing needs on the roster. If each of these early round picks lives up to potential, this will be the class that resurrected the Rams’ franchise.