Rams draft rewind: 2008


The NFL draft is still about a month away, leaving us with plenty of time to look ahead to what might happen. But it also gives us plenty of time to take a look back.

In the interest of keeping Rams fans from re-living the nightmares of drafts gone by, we'll limit our look back to drafts where at least one player remains on the roster.

With that, let's begin today with the 2008 draft class.

The picks: DE Chris Long (No. 2 overall), WR Donnie Avery (No. 33), G John Greco (No. 65), CB Justin King (No. 101), WR Keenan Burton (No. 128), G Roy Schuening (No. 157), LB Chris Chamberlain (No. 228), LB David Vobora (No. 252).

What's left: The last man standing from what turned out to be a class much better than its predecessors but still well below average is Long. The Rams hadn't hit on many picks at all, coming up empty in the first round even when well-positioned but Long has undoubtedly been a success. Up until draft day, the Rams remained split on which direction to go with the debate in the room coming down to Long or defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey with Ohio State defensive end Vernon Gholston on the radar as well. Some late tweaks to the draft board resulted in the choice of Long and it has turned out to be the correct one, especially considering those alternatives.

Avery and Greco have been productive in other stops since leaving St. Louis and the Rams got special teams contributions from the two seventh-round linebackers.

Best pick: Long is the no-brainer choice here. Not only is he the only choice still on the roster, he's become a mainstay of the defense and one of the most consistently productive pass rushers in the league. He ranks 14th in the league in sacks with 50.5 in his career and also sits among the league leaders in pressures and hits. His work earned him a lucrative contract extension before the 2012 season.

Worst pick: Difficult choice but we'll go with Schuening, the only one from the class to never make any sort of contribution in a game. While other members of this draft class played and struggled, Schuening never even did that and only lasted one year on the roster before he was waived in 2009.

What could have been: The night of the draft, the Rams made Avery the first receiver taken when they used the second pick of the second-round on him. In the process, they set off a run of receivers in which many of the players taken would have proved better options. DeSean Jackson is the most famous of the receivers taken after Avery and many wondered why the Rams didn't go with him at the time. The Rams had character concerns with Jackson, concerns that were shared by four other teams who also selected wideouts before Jackson went off the board. Despite elite speed, Avery entered the league with questions about his hands and size. Even if Jackson wasn't the pick, the Rams could have done much better by selecting the receiver who would go three picks later: Green Bay's Jordy Nelson.