FILE- In this Nov. 7, 2009 file photo, Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis (9) is sacked by North Carolina's Robert Quinn (42) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C. Quinn is a top prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)
by Jeff Abeln
Posted on May 2, 2011 at 8:04 PM
(KMOV)-- If you want to complain about how the Rams didn’t address a few issues during this years’ draft I say go ahead, but to immediately call their draft poor, or terrible, would be a mistake.
When Atlanta shocked the other NFL teams and traded up to grab Julio Jones at the sixth overall pick, the Rams may have had to call an audible and go with a different choice.I’m not saying the Rams were definitely going to select Jones but of course they were interested in him. So instead of maybe selecting a stud wide receiver with their first pick, they went defense and chose defensive end Robert Quinn out of the University of North Carolina.Some scouts rated Quinn as the second best pass rusher in the draft so I view this as a very solid pick.What concerns me is the fact that he hasn’t played full- speed, competitive football on a consistent bases in a while.It’s not like he was just sitting on his couch until the draft, but sitting out all of 2010 means Quinn must play catch up.I hear he’s a very hard worker so lets hope he can catch up quickly.
The Rams chose Tight End Lance Kendricks with their second pick.I don’t think this a bad pick, but I was surprised to see the Rams not select a running back to help Steven Jackson or a wide receiver.Kendricks was all-everything during his time at Wisconsin. The converted wide receiver has good hands, pretty good speed, but the one knock on Kendricks is that he’s built more like a wide receiver rather than a tight end.When I was standing next to him interviewing him, he seemed big to me but that’s not saying much.I asked him if he’s ready right now to be a NFL tight end and he said yes.He understands the amount of work he needs to do to have success in the NFL, but says he’s ready to start that process. The one thing that I took out of my interview with Kendricks was his humbleness.He told me the one reason he believes he’ll have success in the NFL is because he wants to learn.That shows me that he’s open to constructive criticism from coaches; some rookies are not, but when you have a rookie who’s willing to learn that’s a huge step in creating a solid NFL player.
With their third pick, the Rams chose wide receiver Austin Pettis from BoiseState.Pettis says he’s more of a possession receiver, but because he’s fairly tall at 6’3, we’ll see if he can stretch the field a bit and maybe endure success in the red zone.Pettis is Boise State’s all time leader in receptions (229) and touchdown catches (39) so you know he can catch the football, and that’s exactly what this team needs (see Rams-Seahawks Jan. 2).
It’s nearly impossible to grade a NFL team’s draft just days afterwards; it takes a couple of years to see how the picks pan out.Every year you see a player be touted the next best thing, then a few years later you’re left scratching your head saying ‘why did they pick him?’ By winning seven games last season and nearly making the playoffs the Rams set a new standard of football, you can only hope the picks they made during this years’ draft will not only keep that “new standard” afloat, but help raise the bar even higher in years to come.