What draft grades have the media given to the Los Angeles Rams? What are they saying about the Rams' 2023 draft haul?
NFL.com - Grade: A-
Bennett was underrated as a prospect and has enough physical tools and the confidence to be a starter after Stafford retires if he can mature. Hampton and Mathis fit the team's need at edge, Tomlinson plays stronger than his diminutive size would portend, and McClendon, Allen, Nacua and Evans were all solid picks despite the veterans already on the depth chart. The team had no specialists coming into the draft, so they picked Evans instead of fighting for him as a free agent.
ESPN - Grade: B
Steve Avila (36) is a plug-and-play starter at guard, while edge rusher Byron Young (77) is stellar value on my board. I have Young No. 51 overall. As I mentioned Friday night, defensive tackle Kobie Turner (89) was the first player outside my top 200 to be drafted. That's extremely high for a player I don't think has starter-level tools.
I thought I was high on quarterback Stetson Bennett (128), but I had heard he was more likely to go in Rounds 5 or 6. He'll be a nice backup for Matthew Stafford, but I'm not sure how high his ceiling is overall. Wideout Puka Nacua (177), tight end Davis Allen (175) and edge rusher Ochaun Mathis (189) were all reaches on my board, and L.A. ended up taking my sixth-ranked punter Ethan Evans (223).
This is a bit of a mixed bag overall, but the top two picks were excellent value.
SI - Grade: B
PFF - Grade: A-
The Rams have quickly become really thin along the defensive front around Aaron Donald. Young projects as a good fit in Los Angeles' defense, and he's one of the most explosive edge prospects in this class off the edge. He is by no means a finished product, as he falls into the 25th percentile in PFF pass-rush grade over the last two seasons, but he has traits worth betting on at this stage of the draft.
The Rams grab one of the most underrated players in the class. After producing at an elite level in the FCS for Richmond, Turner transferred to the Demon Deacons and earned a 92.2 PFF grade in 2022 — the second-best mark in the Power Five, behind only Georgia's Jalen Carter. Turner plays with excellent leverage and possesses strong hands and quicks.
Day 3: Stetson Bennett comes off the board in the fourth round after helping Georgia win back-to-back national championships in college. He put up an elite 90.9 passing grade when he was kept clean from pressure, and he now lands in a situation where he can develop. This gives him one of the best chances to succeed in the NFL, whether as a future starter or backup.
McClendon wasn't much of a run blocker in college, though he did grade far better on zone plays than gap plays. He did post 70.0-plus PFF grades in each of the past three seasons while seeing at least 595 snaps on the field in all three years. The intriguing developmental point here is that he recorded an 82.1 PFF pass-blocking grade in 2022.
A solid athlete on the edge at just 236 pounds, Hampton is likely ticketed for a rotational pass-rusher role. He'll need to add 10-15 pounds even for that role. He is explosive enough to disrupt quarterbacks though, as evidenced by his three sacks and 82.8 grade against North Carolina this past year.
The Rams needed reinforcements in their secondary, and they've done well to get the most out of smaller defensive backs like Darious Williams over the years, and Tomlinson can hopefully be the next in line, falling because of his 5-foot-8 stature. The TCU product earned a 78.4 grade in 2022 with five interceptions and has three years of starting experience, projecting as a solid slot option for the Rams. He plays like he's 6-foot-2 and if he can overcome the lack of size in a zone-heavy Rams scheme this could be a steal.
Mathis is an experienced prospect with four seasons with at least 500 defensive snaps in his college career — three at TCU and one after transferring to Nebraska. Mathis is a long edge rusher at 6-foot-5 with 35-plus inch arms and is coming off a career-high 77.6 PFF pass-rushing grade in 2022.
A former five-star recruit, Evans never quite lived up to that billing in college. He was still productive, though, and earned an 84.5 PFF rushing grade on gap plays in 2022. He averaged at least 6.5 yards per carry in each of the past three seasons.
Evans is a Division II punter, although he was the top punter on PFF's big board.
This is the stage of the draft where it makes sense to take chances on athletes. Taylor fits into that bucket with 90th percentile results or higher in the 10-yard split, vertical jump and broad jump as a 204-pound safety. And Taylor pairs that with a decent grading profile, including 72.0-plus PFF grades in each of the past two seasons as a starter.
Mr. Irrelevant of the 2023 NFL Draft! Johnson was on the field for 726 snaps in 2022 and produced PFF pass-rushing and run-defense grades above 85.0. A little undersized, he won 17.6% of his pass-rushing attempts and registered a tackle resulting in a defensive stop on 8.7% of his snaps in run defense.
Fox Sports - Grade: B
The Rams had 13 picks in all and need players all over their roster after basically sitting out free agency due to salary cap restraints. Los Angeles also got this year's Mr. Irrelevant, Toledo defensive tackle Desjuan Johnson. After Brock Purdy's emergence, there will be more expected out of Johnson than perhaps is fair.
USA Today - Grade: B
The Ringer - Grade: C+
Sporting News - Grade: B-
Touchdown Wire - Grade: B
I'm not at all sure what McVay and GM Les Snead were thinking with the fourth-round selection of Stetson Bennett — maybe the back-to-back championships clouded the tape — but maybe they see something I don't. In any event, the "F them picks" Rams did a lot of good business in the later rounds, which bumps up the grade.
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