Thursday, December 22, 2011
With Pettis out, revisiting NFC West drafts
By Mike Sando
Rookie draft choices are making strong contributions throughout the NFC West, but less so in St. Louis after the NFL suspended receiver Austin Pettis.
More on the Rams' rookie class below. First, a look at how other teams' rookies have fared:
- Seattle: Fourth-round linebacker K.J. Wright and fifth-round cornerback Richard Sherman are flourishing as starters for Seattle. First-rounder James Carpenter and third-rounder John Moffitt were starting for the Seahawks until injuries ended their season.
- San Francisco: First-rounder Aldon Smith has become a candidate for defensive rookie of the year with 13 sacks in 14 games. Third-rounder Chris Culliver and fourth-rounder Kendall Hunter have become key role players on an 11-3 team. Seventh-rounder Bruce Miller has developed into the starting fullback. The team asked nothing right away from second-round choice Colin Kaepernick, the backup quarterback.
- Arizona: The Cardinals' first-round choice, Patrick Peterson, has set records as a return specialist, returning four punts for touchdowns. He has started all season at cornerback and has increasingly made positive contributions to an improving defense. Fourth-round outside linebacker Sam Acho and fifth-round fullback Anthony Sherman have become solid starters. Acho has five sacks. Sixth-rounder David Carter has contributed as part of the rotation on the defensive line.
Back to the Rams. As the chart shows, first-rounder Robert Quinn and second-rounder Lance Kendricks remain on the 53-man roster. Pettis, a third-round choice, and fourth-rounder Greg Salas are out for the season. The Rams drafted four additional players, three in the seventh round, and none remains with the team.
St. Louis had no 2011 sixth-rounder after sending it to Baltimore in the Mark Clayton trade. Clayton made an immediate impact last season, but injuries have forced him to miss 24 of 30 games.