LOS ANGELES – Here’s a wrap-up of the Los Angeles Rams' 2016 draft.
Best move: You can probably quibble with the players the Rams drafted on Day 3, but you can't protest much about the positions they addressed. The Rams desperately needed to add weapons for quarterback Jared Goff, and they promptly spent their first two Day 3 picks on tight end Tyler Higbee and receiver Pharoh Cooper. Then the Rams used two more picks on tight end Temarrick Hemingway and receiver Michael Thomas. Cooper and Higbee bring plenty of upside as pass-catchers, and some expected both of them to be off the board by the end of the second day of the draft. Higbee has some off-field issues to resolve but could be an ideal fit for the Rams' needs if he can get them squared away. The Rams failed to surround QB Sam Bradford with weapons after drafting him first overall in 2010. They're at least trying to learn from those mistakes this time around.
Riskiest move: Anytime you trade away two first-rounders, two second-rounders and two third-rounders to move all the way from No. 15 to No. 1 in the draft, there is a substantial amount of inherent risk. The Rams did just that in order to land Goff, and they are betting the house that he will become their franchise quarterback. Goff has plenty of talent -- that's not the issue. The question is how he'll adapt to the NFL and playing under center on a more regular basis, and whether the Rams will be able to offer the supporting cast and coaching he needs to succeed. History tells us these types of deals rarely work out, but history also said that a move from 15th to first is all but unheard of.
Most surprising move: Given the Rams' needs in the passing game, it's not a complete shock that they drafted only one defensive player, but it is at least a mild surprise that they didn't come out of the draft with a defensive back. The Rams have a pressing need for a free safety, though it's unlikely they'd have found an immediate starter on Day 3 anyway. They also could use more depth at cornerback. Without any additional bodies for the secondary via the draft, coach Jeff Fisher said that area will be a priority in undrafted free agency.
File it away: Hemingway isn't exactly a household name, but the Rams grabbed him in the sixth round because they believe in his potential. At 6-foot-5 and a chiseled 244 pounds, Hemingway runs the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds and offers intriguing athleticism. He's going to need some polish as a route runner, but if the Rams can be patient with him, he offers the kind of upside that makes him worth the late-round choice.
Thumbs-up: The trade to move up for Goff puts the weight of this draft on his shoulders. If he becomes the franchise quarterback the Rams hope he can be, this draft is a win. But the reason they get positive reviews here is because, for the second year in a row, they had a clear plan and executed it. They drafted Goff and then proceeded to spend the next three picks, and four of their five other choices, to get some weapons for him in the passing game. It remains to be seen if the plan will work out, but at least what they did makes sense, which is more than can be said for many Rams drafts over the past decade or so.