2011 Draft: Rams passing on RBs in late rounds.

The Rams are quite the passing team now. Even after Billy Devaney all but promised to find help in the running game for Steven Jackson in the draft, the Rams have ‘passed’ on backs over and over, draft after draft. 

Last year, the Rams got leapfrogged by Detroit for Jahvid Best at the tail end of the first round. The year before, the Jets nabbed Shonn Greene out from under Billy Devaney’s nose. This year, with massive depth available at the position, would be different, right? We almost couldn’t miss, right? 

Fast forward to the fifth round, after drafting sure-handed pass-catchers in rounds two-through four. Billy Devaney had Jacquizz Rodgers — an Oregon State alum who met with Steven Jackson’s seal of approval — all lined up and ready to draft.

Instead, the Rams traded out of the spot, handing Quizz to the Falcons while accepting an extra 7th round pick in return. Then as Rams fans lined up with their picks of the best remaining rushers — notably Jordan Todman, Da’Rel Scott, and Anthony Allen — the Rams simply kept passing, passing, passing them by. I guess you could say it’s becoming a theme. 

Bernie Miklasz (@miklasz)
@RamsHerd They have a couple of veteran FA running backs on radar, Devaney told me. Who? I don’t know.

Given the way the tail end of the draft wound up, the hope of free agency now offers the only salve to Rams fans, and the holes on the roster (OLB and OG, in addition to the RB spot) that are seen as still unaddressed. Here’s how the rest of the haul stacks up:

5th Round: Jermale Hines, FS, Ohio State.

Hines was clearly drafted to fill the hole left by Oshiomogho Atogwe’s departure. New Era Scouting has this to say: “Good size and speed for a safety. Plays a solid centerfield and can stick with slot receivers and tight ends.” Hines profiles as a smart, disciplined player who won’t be a liability in coverage. In making the pick, the Rams pass on the harder-hitting Jeron Johnson, and Bradley Fletcher’s teammate at Iowa, Tyler Sash, among others. 

7th Round: Mikail Baker, CB/KR, Baylor.

While the Rams missed out on Baylor guard Danny Watkins, their interest in him might have earned Mikhail Baker a job in St Louis. The fleet-footed cornerback posted the fastest 40 time of anyone at Baylor’s pro day, and offers kick return skills if needed. Presumably, he will be competing head to head against Quincy Butler, who has the same repertoire.  

7th Round: Jabara Williams, OLB, Stephen F. Austin.

This small-schooler doesn’t excel at any one thing in particular, even according to the guy making a name for himself at scouting small-schoolers. Josh Buchanon, proprietor of JB Scouting, says of Williams: “Misses some tackles but very athletic. Good size. Runs well. Productive guy. Needs to work on cover skills.” Meanwhile, New Era says: “Does not have great size and can be run at. He has a hard time getting rid of blockers but he is good off the edge and can hit.” Sounds like a Chris Chamberlain comp who will have to create value on special teams in order to stick. 

7th Round: Jonathan Nelson, DB, Oklahoma

Perhaps a personal recommendation from Sam Bradford did the trick here… Nelson doesn’t stand out on the stat sheet or the pages of scouting reports, btu does rank as NFL Draft Scout’s 16th-ranked free safety.