Rams draft rewind: 2011

April, 12, 2014
Apr 12
12:00
PM ET
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, we turn our attention to the 2011 draft class.

Quinn
The picks: DE Robert Quinn (No. 14 overall), TE Lance Kendricks (No. 47), WR Austin Pettis (No. 78), WR Greg Salas (No. 112), S Jermale Hines (No. 158), CB Mikail Baker (No. 216), LB Jabara Williams (No. 228), S Jonathan Nelson (No. 229)

What's left: Quinn is the best player on the current roster and one of the best young players in the league. Kendricks and Pettis have had their moments as role players. Salas has bounced around the league a bit since the team dealt him to New England before the 2012 season. Williams went to Chicago briefly before returning to St. Louis and coming up short in his bid to make the Rams roster last season.

Best pick: The easiest choice for this spot of all recent Rams' picks and one of the best choices of any team in the past few years is Quinn. After a slow build in his first two seasons, Quinn burst on the scene in 2013 with 19 sacks on his way to first-team All Pro honors. Beyond his pass rushing skills, Quinn vastly improved as a run defender last season and is still only scratching the surface of his potential. The Rams have him under control for two more seasons but will likely do everything possible to keep him around for the long haul.

Worst pick: Let's cheat the system here a little bit and go with every pick made from the fourth round on in a five-way tie. While it's unrealistic to expect sixth and seventh round picks to make the roster, it's never a good sign when those players not only don't make the roster but aren't even kept around for the practice squad. Salas at least showed some promise as a rookie but battled injuries and never seemed to click with the new regime that came aboard in 2012. Hines, Baker and Nelson never made the roster and bounced around to some other opportunities that never amounted to much. Williams showed some early promise but never stuck in two stints with the team. Not that anyone should have expected to get starters at that point in the draft but at least some depth or special teams contributors would have been helpful.

What could have been: When healthy, Kendricks has been a solid if unspectacular contributor and his versatility has had value in coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's offense. But for a team that has been constantly searching for top receiver options, the Rams missed a golden chance to get a wideout that has become a true difference maker instead. Eleven picks after the Rams picked Kendricks, Baltimore chose receiver Torrey Smith, who has gone on to become the Ravens' top wideout and one of the top deep threats in the game. Even if the Rams had passed on Smith, they could have taken multi-purpose weapon Randall Cobb, who went six spots after Smith.

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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