The Los Angeles Rams were a team starting over at the time, so the Rams 2017 Draft class would be crucial.
Sean McVay had been hired as head coach taking over for Jeff Fisher and his ‘stache. The Rams had made a huge deal for quarterback Jared Goff at the start of the 2016 Draft and then, for some reason no one will ever know, didn’t play him until late in the year.
The 2017 Draft for the Rams was McVay’s first shot at injecting the roster with his players. In a world of mock drafts, and draft grades, we thought it would be fun to look back at the Rams Draft Class of 2017 and rate whether it worked out for the Rams.
Big picture: they got one mega-superstar, but he’s the only one still with the team.
Here’s the Rams 2017 Draft card, what was said then, and what we can say now:
Second Round (44)
TE Gerald Everett, South Alabama
What They Said Then: He had a big week at the Senior Bowl and his stock rose. The scouts loved his size and ability to line up all over the field. His hands were a concern, as was the fact that he was only 228 pounds. The rating on nfl.com was 6.4, pegging him as an eventual starter.
Rams Career: After a slow start as a rookie, Everett emerged as a quality 1A/1B tight end with Tyler Higbee, averaging 37 catches for his final three years. But the Rams let him go. He went to Seattle for a year, and then signed a 2-year deal with the Chargers. He had a career year in 2022 with 58 catches for 555 yards.
Draft Grade: Solid B. Everett hasn’t become one of the top tight ends in the NFL, but he’s consistent. Maybe not what you want from a second-round pick, but you could do worse.
Third Round (69)
WR Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington
What They Said Then: Kupp had set all kinds of records in college and was the Walter Payton Award winner as the best player in FCS (Football Championship Subdivision). What were the knocks? Not great straight-line speed and playing below average competition.
Rams Career: Um, gee, let’s start with Super Bowl LVI Most Valuable Player and leave it at that. He’s the most complete wide receiver in the game.
Draft Grade: A++. I think he’s the best third round pick in Rams history.
Third Round (91)
S John Johnson, Boston College
What They Said Then: He was projected as a third-round pick by draftscout.com. He was a little short at 6-feet, but ran well and had good instincts for the football.
Rams Career: Johnson was put in the line-up right away for the Rams, making 11 starts with one pick. He had a shoulder injury in 2019 and missed 10 games, but bounced back in 2020 to be a starter, but when the Rams made the Jalen Ramsey trade….Johnson was out. He signed a 3-year $33 million deal with the Browns.
Draft Grade: B-. He was about what the Rams expected. He’s no Jalen Ramsey.
Fourth Round (117)
WR Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
What They Said Then: Another player who had a good Senior Bowl, Reynolds was seen as a deep threat with good size and strength, but there were questions about his hands.
Rams Career: Developed a good connection with Jared Goff, had his best year in 2020 with 52 catches for 618 yards and two touchdowns for LA. Then he signed with Tennessee as a free agent and flopped. Detroit (and Goff) picked him up and he’s their third wide receiver.
Draft Grade: C. I think the Rams gave up on him too early.
Fourth Round (125)
LB Samson Ebukam, Eastern Washington
What They Said Then: Coming from Nigeria, all the scouting reports said the same thing. He was raw. He could make a great play, but his fundamentals were lacking.
Rams Career: Ebukam was a starter in 2018 and 2020 and had 14 sacks in his four years with the Rams playing at outside linebacker. The Rams let him walk and he joined the Niners. He started 15 games for them this past year.
Draft Grade: B. Ebukam is a good player and another one the Rams probably shouldn’t have let go.
Sixth Round (189)
DT Tanzel Smart, Tulane
What They Said Then: Short and stocky, Smart was considered a high-motor player (that’s code for not very athletic but tries hard). He had a good college career, but his NFL future was as a rotational player.
Rams Career: He played three years, played some as a rookie, but very little in 2018 and 2019. He’s been with the Jets ever since…as a rotational player.
Draft grade: C. I mean, at this point in the draft, this is what you’re going to get.
Sixth Round (206)
RB Sam Rogers, Virginia Tech
What They Said Then: He was a tough player who played offense and defense in high school. Not very big, not very fast, but strong willed.
Rams Career: Zip. Never played. He was waived in 2018, then signed with the Bills and was waived by them. He’s now a head high school football coach at Hanover High School in Virginia. They went 5-4 last fall.
Draft Grade: D. This was a waste of a pick. Sorry, Sam.
Seventh Round (234)
DE Ejuan Price, Pitt
What They Said Then: He was too short at 5-11, 250, and had limited speed. Pitt had used him as a situational pass rusher from the outside and he had 27 sacks.
Rams Career: Appeared in one game in 2017. He had a tryout with the Ravens in 2019 but didn’t stick. The scouts were right, unfortunately.
Draft Grade: F. Maybe the Rams were thinking they’d found another Aaron Donald, a short stocky quick guy from Pitt. Didn’t happen.
Overall Draft Grade
It’s not that great. Kupp is an NFL superstar. Everett plays for the Chargers, Ebukam had his moments with the Rams, but now he’s with your archrival. I think the biggest condemnation of this draft is Kupp is the only player still with the franchise. With him this Draft gets a B-, take him off and is a full letter grade lower.