One need only look at the Los Angeles Rams 2018 Draft class to see that football is a brutal game.
Looking back on the Rams draft class from that day and just about every single player has suffered a serious injury.
It’s an impossible draft class to rate. Honestly, the best pick may have been in the sixth round.
Heading into the 2018 draft, the Rams were coming off an 11-5 year and won the NFC West. They made the playoffs for the first time in 13 years but got spanked by the Atlanta Falcons at the Memorial Coliseum in the first round. Jared Goff threw for 28 touchdowns, Todd Gurley was an All-Pro (man, he was good) and a rookie wide receiver named Cooper Kupp led the team with 869 yards receiving.
The Rams traded away their number 1 pick in 2018 for Brandin Cooks, yes, a first-round pick for a wide receiver. And then they traded their number 2 pick for Sammy Watkins. It was clear the Rams thought they needed big play ability on the outside.
And then they drafted a bunch of linemen. Go figure.
Here’s looking back at the Rams 2018 NFL Draft card, what was said then, and what we can say now:
Third Round (89)
OT Joseph Noteboom, TCU
What Was Said Then: NFL.com gave Noteboom a 6.2 grade, predicting he would eventually be a starter. They said he had an NFL body but was inconsistent.
Rams Career: Noteboom was a key player on the Rams offensive line and was slated to take over at tackle for Andrew Whitworth this year. He started six games and then tore his Achilles tendon against the Panthers in Week 6. He hadn’t played all that great, allowing five sacks in those six games. The scouts were right about Noteboom.
Draft Grade: Not too good. The Rams put their money on Noteboom this year and he got hurt. C.
Fourth Round (111)
C Brian Allen, Michigan State
What Was Said Then: Scouts were down that he was so short, only 6-foot-1, but loved his competitive streak. He was regarded as a fifth-sixth round pick.
Rams Career: Hurt. A lot. Allen played 13 games as a rookie but hurt his knee and missed most of 2019 and all of 2020. Maybe it’s nothing, but his one healthy year the Rams won the Super Bowl. This year, he hurt his calf against the Packers and was done.
Draft Grade: C. He’s been hurt so much that it’s tempting to make this grade lower.
Fourth Round (135)
DE John Franklin-Myers, Stephen F. Austin
What Was Said Then: He came into the draft with a 5.9 grade, which means back-up. The scouts said he was a tweener and played subpar college competition.
Rams Career: Frankin-Meyers had a sack in the Super Bowl on Tom Brady and played in every game as a rookie, but the Rams let him go. He signed a big deal with the Jets (4-year, $55 million) and has been a solid contributor the last two seasons.
Draft Grade: D-. He’s been good for the Jets. The Rams gave up on him too soon.
Fifth Round (147)
LB Micah Kiser, Virginia
What Was Said Then: I love this, he got a 6.1 grade from NFL.com. so higher than Franklin-Myers. Scouts loved his toughness, but his weakness was in coverage.
Rams Career: Hurt. After playing a little as a rookie, Kiser tore his pectoral muscle in preseason of 2019 and missed the whole season. He started nine games in 2020 but got hurt again. The Raiders signed him before this season and he broke his leg in practice and missed all of 2022.
Draft Grade: D. Another player who couldn’t stay healthy.
Fifth Round (160)
DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma
What Was Said Then: At just 6-foot-2, scouts were down on his size and lack of experience. They thought he needed time to develop.
Rams Career: Obo missed all of 2018 with a foot injury but played well at times last year when the Rams won the Super Bowl. LA cut him loose and he signed with Houston Texans. He played a lot in Houston, finished with 44 tackles and five sacks, second on the Texans.
Draft Grade: B-. The Rams got a little something out of Obo. They got good value for a fifth round pick.
Sixth Round (176)
RB John Kelly, Tennessee
What Was Said Then: Graded out a 6.1. Scouts liked that he was an SEC player and his toughness, but there were red flags on instinct and character.
Rams Career: He played in eight games for the Rams over two years and then went to Cleveland, basically hanging out on their practice squad.
Draft Grade: D. The Rams didn’t get much out of this pick and they didn’t need a running back because they had Gurley.
Sixth Round (192)
T Jamil Derby, Maine
What Was Said Then: Derby got a 6.1 grade and scouts said he played well at the Senior Bowl but was likely a college tackle who would have to shift to guard in the NFL.
Rams Career: He made one start at tackle in 2019, then shuttled back and forth between the Rams and Lions practice squads. It’s telling with all the Rams OL issues this year they never called him. He’s now in the XFL.
Draft Grade: C. I mean, what do you expect from a late sixth round pick?
Sixth Round (195)
DT Sebastian Joseph-Day, Rutgers
What Was Said Then: Rated just a 5.5 on NFL.com meaning he shouldn’t even have been drafted. Scouts liked his ability to play the run, but said he was a liability in pass rush.
Rams Career: Aside from Allen, he may have been the only other player in this draft who really contributed to the Super Bowl run, even though he didn’t play in the game because he was hurt. He was a starter when healthy. He signed a three-year $24 million deal with the Chargers last season.
Draft Grade: A. For this spot, this was a great pick.
Sixth Round (205)
DE Trevon Young, Louisville
What Was Said Then: Scouts said he was an average back-up. He’d been injured a lot in college, but when healthy showed flashes of ability.
Rams Career: 12 snaps in two games, then played practice squad bingo with the Rams and Browns. He played in CFL and Wikipedia says he’s now playing in the Indoor Football League (Arena Football). Don’t give up your dream.
Draft Grade: D. I think you want something more from a sixth-round pick than 12 snaps.
Seventh Round (231)
OLB Travin Howard, TCU
What Was Said Then: He didn’t even get a grade. Howard was not considered a prospect. The Rams like guys from TCU.
Rams Career: Howard played well as a rookie, then missed 2020 with an injury. Last year, he had the interception to clinch the NFC title. This year he was hurt again.
Draft Grade: B-. He’s barely played, but he’ll be on Rams highlight films forever.
Seventh Round (244)
DE Justin Lawler, SMU
What Was Said Then: Scouts said he wasn’t a great athlete but was competitive and had a good work ethic.
Rams Career: As a rookie, the Rams used him in every game, then he missed 2020 with a foot injury. He played three games with the Rams in 2021 and was cut. Tennessee signed him and waived him.
Draft Grade: B-. For a seventh-round pick, Lawler at least contributed a little.
Overall Draft Grade
This depends on how you want to see the Cooks and Watkins trades. Do the Rams make the Super Bowl without Cooks? Probably not. But this draft is cursed. How many guys got hurt? Sebastian Joseph-Day was a steal in round six, Brian Allen is great when healthy, but the book is still out on Noteboom. The Rams had so many picks and didn’t find a sleeper or jewel in the late rounds. I give it a C-.