The St. Louis Rams have turned into one good drafting franchise these past couple of years.
They landed a monster deal with Washington, and it has turned into a blessing for the Rams organization.
They have found their franchise QB, RB, a young speedy reciever in Tavon Austin, and a fierce defense that is among the best in the NFL.
Last year, the Rams had two first round picks and five picks for the rest of the draft.
They made a gutsy move by trading up for the No. 8 pick, in which they acquired Tavon Austin. Austin was underrused, but still has big potential with the Rams. But how did all the draft picks turn out?
While it's best to wait a couple of years before doing this, here are grades for all the Rams' draft picks from last year:
Tavon Austin (West Virginia) WR, 1st Round; 8th pick: A-
Austin was supposed to be the receiver for the St. Louis Rams this past season. Standing at 5'8", his expectations may have been a little too high from the get-go. He started off great with Sam Bradford still at the helm, but his production slowed down after the injury to the franchise quarterback.
He proved he could be a versatile player for the Rams, having over 100 yards in rushing, receiving, kick returns, and punt returns. If Sam Bradford can stay healthy next season, expect Austin to be the receiver we all expected.
LY Stats: 40 REC, 418 yards, 4 TD, 9 rushing attempts, 151 yards, 1 TD, 33 punt returns, 280 yards, 1 TD, 18 Kickoff Returns, 398 yards, 6 total TDs
Alec Ogletree (Georgia) LB, 1st Round; 30th pick: A
Alec Ogletree is just another great defensive player that was drafted by the Rams. He had 6 FF on the season and more than 100 tackles. Not bad for a player drafted 30th overall. He must of learned a few things from Ohio State alum James Laurinaitis the past season or else some of the teams drafting really missed out. He compliments CB Janoris Jenkins and DE Robert Quinn as some of the Rams' best draft picks in recent memory. With a defense like this one, it's going to be tough for anybody to score points on these guys.
LY Stats: 117 tackles, 10 pass deflections, 1 INT returned for TD, 6 forced fumbles
T.J. McDonald (USC) S, 3rd Round; 9th pick: B
Here in the third round, the Rams went with what they needed at the time in a defensive back. T.J. McDonald went down early in the year and only played in 10 games, but his stats were good for that number. McDonald picked off Drew Brees in part of an upset win over the Saints, and he acquired 53 tackles on the year. He should produce a bit more this year, as longas he doesn't fracture any more legs.
LY Stats: 53 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 4 pass deflections
Stedman Bailey (West Virginia) WR, 3rd Round; 30th pick: B
Perhaps the best pure receiver on the Rams' roster right now, Stedman Bailey came into the year being underrated due to the fact that his peer, Tavon Austin, was stealing the spotlight. Bailey played in all 16 games, but didn't start until late in the season. In that time however, he proved he might be a very valuable piece in the Rams' offense. Acquiring 17 receptions late in the year, he showed he may have the potential next year to break out with a healthy Sam Bradford.
LY Stats: 17 receptions, 226 yards, 1 rushing TD
Barrett Jones (Alabama) C, 4th Round; 6th pick: D
Barrett Jones played only three games in the past year, and acquired no statistics throughout those games. The Alabama alumni might find a football job for the Alabama offensive line if his NFL career doesn't pan out. Maybe with some time he can develop into the great starter he was in college.
LY Stats: NA
Brandon McGee (Miami FL) CB, 5th round; 16th pick: C-
The rookie from Miami was injured a lot the past season, but recorded 5 tackles this past season. He runs a 4.37 at just under 6'0", but I don't see anything more than a reserve role for him in his stay with the Rams.
LY Stats: 5 tackles
Zac Stacy (Vanderbilt) RB, 5th round; 27th pick: A+
It's not very often you find one of the best runningbacks in the draft in the 5th round, but that's exactly what the Rams drafted last year. Stacy is a power back standing at 5"8 215 pounds, and was 2nd among rookies in rushing yards and 3rd in TDs, all while Stacy wasn't even a starter until midway through the season.
Many Rams fans this past offseason were scared of not having Steven Jackson in the backfield to lead the way, but this year the Rams made the most of their 5th round draft gem. They will look to be a threat on offense next year to go with their strong defense.
LY Stats: 973 yards, 7 TDs, 3.9 YPC, 250 carries
Overall Rams 2013 Draft Grade: A-
The Rams found the steal of the draft with their last pick, and finally found some playmakers on offense to compliment Bradford. Not only that, but the Rams made use of the Redskins picks and traded them to end up with Austin and Ogletree.
The past couple of drafts have been really good for the St. Louis franchise, as they are catching up quickly with the rest of the NFC. Another great year drafting wise, and these guys could squeak into the playoffs next year with a healthy Sam Bradford.