By Stu Jackson, theRams.com
Two days removed from the conclusion of the 2023 NFL Draft, enough time has passed to round up grades for and reactions to the Rams’ 14 selections.
Here’s what experts had to say about the class as well as some of its individual members.
NFL.com’s Chad Reuter provided quick-snap grades after each day, giving the Rams an A on Day 1, a B on Day 2, and a A- on Day 3 for an overall grade of A- as a result.
“Super Bowl-winning quarterback Matthew Stafford functioned as the Rams’ first-round pick again this year,” Reuter wrote. “The team added more picks through various Day 2 trades. Adding Avila bolsters the interior of the offensive line, while Young’s closing ability gives him a chance to become an effective edge defender. Turner was a productive player at Richmond and Wake Forest but went a bit earlier than projected.
“Bennett was underrated as a prospect and has enough physical tools and the confidence to be a starter after Stafford retires if he can mature. Hampton and Mathis fit the team’s need at edge, Tomlinson plays stronger than his diminutive size would portend, and McClendon, Allen, Nacua and Evans were all solid picks despite the veterans already on the depth chart. The team had no specialists coming into the draft, so they picked Evans instead of fighting for him as a free agent.”
Reuter’s grades and analysis for all 32 teams can be read here.
PFF breaks down each selection here.
USA TODAY’s Nate Davis: B
“Bad as last season was, the 2021 trade for QB Matthew Stafford was worth it – and the Super Bowl 56 champs are now scheduled to make their first Round 1 pick since 2016 … next year,” Davis writes. “This draft was mostly about replenishing needed depth, though second-round G Steve Avila should be a plug-and-play starter. Should be fun watching fourth-round QB Stetson Bennett, a UGA alum like Stafford, proving he can play at this level during the preseason.”
FOX SPORTS’ Eric D. Williams: B
“The Rams had several needs to fill, particularly on the defensive side, where Aaron Donald is one of the few starters sticking around,” Williams wrote as part of his analysis. “Tennessee edge rusher Byron Young should help replace the production left vacant by the departure of Leonard Floyd. TCU product Steve Avila helps bolster an offense that started 14 different offensive-line combinations in 2022. Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett should be a solid backup for the aging Matthew Stafford.”
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco: B
Prisco says TCU guard Steve Avila (Round 2, No. 36 overall) was the Rams’ best selection.
“The Rams didn’t have a first-round pick — shocking, right? — but they made the most of the picks they did have,” Prisco writes. “They picked a lot of good players. In addition to Avila, I liked a lot of their picks, including third-round edge Byron Young. Sixth-round corner Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson is a quality player, who could be a good nickel. This team is being overhauled and this is the kind of draft that gives a team some good, young bodies to help make it happen.”
Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer: B-
“The Rams, for a change, loaded up on draft picks after not having a first-rounder again,” Iyer wrote as part of his analysis. “There’s a lot of volume here, with Avila, Young, McLendon, Hodges-Tomlinson and Zach Evans standing out as the most valuable picks for Les Snead and Sean McVay.”
Read the rest of his breakdown here.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler says Avila was his favorite Rams pick (subscription required to read).
“Easy pick here,” Brugler wrote. “Avila was arguably the top interior offensive lineman in the draft, and he gives the Rams flexibility up front with his experience across the line. He is a wide-bodied 330-pounder with outstanding play strength and smarts. Despite not having a first-round pick, the Rams did well to find a plug-and-play starter.”
ESPN’s Todd McShay says Tennessee outside linebacker Byron Young was the Rams’ best value pick (subscription required to read full analysis).
“Hitting on the Day 2 and 3 picks is going to be important, and I think a lot of prospects in the Rams’ rookie class will have a chance to start at some point this season,” McVay wrote as part of his breakdown. “So getting an impact edge rusher such as Young in the third round? Massive. He has a really explosive first step and closing burst, and it’s no surprise that Young lit up the combine with a 4.43-second 40 at 250 pounds, along with wild 11-foot broad and 38-inch vertical jumps. All three numbers were first or second among edge rushers.”