When the Rams finished up their 2013 draft this past April, just like every other team in football, they talked about how excited they were to get those players. They said they were all tremendous talents and would soon show it on the field.
Usually, it doesn’t work out that way. But against Tampa Bay, just about every rookie in the draft class (save for Tavon Austin, who is injured) contributed in a big way.
“As rookies, we’ve all been working extremely hard all year, just trying to find our role as a professional football player,” WR Stedman Bailey said. “As you can see, it’s been paying off for a lot of us guys. We just continue to work hard, and just keep doing what we’re asked to do and everything’s paying off.”
Bailey scored his first career touchdown on a double reverse in the second quarter. That was made possible by the first of two forced fumbles from fellow rookie LB Alec Ogletree. Safety T.J. McDonald also got the first sack of his career while RB Zac Stacy pounded out 104 yards on 33 carries.
“We’ve made big progress from coming in here to OTAs not really knowing what to do to this point,” Bailey said. “We only have a game left, but it’s been an incredible journey. We’ve learned a lot from the older guys and it’s been a lot of fun.”
“I think a lot of credit certainly goes to our scouting department for finding those guys,” Kellen Clemens said. “And a lot of it just goes to their work ethic. We’re fortunate in some regards because some of these rookies still don’t know what they don’t know. I said it a couple weeks ago, we’re a football team that unfortunately is not going to the playoffs, but you would not know it by the way that we continue to come in, continue to work and continue to show up on Sundays. And a big part of that has been the contributions that we’ve gotten from some of these young players.”
The Rams’ future largely depends on the development of these young kids. They have two first round picks once again next April but if the current first and second year players don’t continue to evolve then it won’t matter who the front office brings in.
This game against the Bucs was a good first start towards that development.