The Rams created quite a stir last Thursday night when they traded both up and down to set up their selections of Tavon Austin and Alec Ogletree in the first round. Please pardon the mixed metaphor, but the Rams had themselves a home run hitter and a big-time hitter with those two picks. However, the true value of a draft continues through its entirety and the Rams proved that point last season when seven of their nine selections after the first round played in at least 14 games. Let’s not forget that there are over 150 members (61 percent) of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who were drafted after the first round. So, let’s take a look at some of the stats related to the choices of the final two days of the draft.
In 2012, the Rams took two players who were collegians in the SEC with one each from the ACC and the Big East. A majority of their picks came from non-BCS programs that included North Alabama, Montana, Missouri Western, and Abilene Christian. This year’s Rams draft was a “BCS-only” draft as the SEC again led the way with three selections while the Big 12 supplied the two West Virginia picks and one each came from the ACC and Pac 12.
With their first third round pick and the 71st selection overall, the Rams selected USC safety T.J. McDonald. The Trojans have now tied Washington with the second highest number of Rams draft choices with 38 (UCLA has had 44). Interestingly, only five of the prior 37 USC picks have been drafted in a higher round and it has happened only once in the Common Draft era—Bob Klein was a Number One choice in 1969. The last time the Rams had a selection at Number 71 was 1994 and they took Keith Lyle, also a safety, from Virginia in the third round.
The Rams had another third round selection at Number 92—the first time they had chosen at that spot since 1947 when Russ Steger an Illinois back was chosen in the ninth round. Wide receiver Stedman Bailey was picked and he will join fellow Mountaineer Austin in the offense. One might suspect that the Rams had never picked two West Virginia players in the same draft, but it did happen all the way back in 1954 when tackles Jerry Cooper (21st round) and Ed Brookman (24th round) were chosen. Those two players never ended up playing a single NFL game.
Since the franchise began in 1937, there have been 134 times when there were two draft picks or more from one college. But, this appears to be the first time in the Common Draft era that two wide receivers from the same school were picked by the Rams. Just for the record, the most players selected from one school in a Rams draft was six from Notre Dame in 1946. Also, three times there were two players selected from the same school and the players had the same last name—1979 Georgia Tech Kent and Drew Hill, 1968 Jackson State Harold and Cephus Jackson, and 1961 USC Marlin and Mike McKeever.
Versatile offensive lineman Barrett Jones of national champion Alabama was the Rams fourth round pick and Number 113 overall. Surprisingly, Jones is only the 12th Alabama player selected by the Rams in the draft. Ironically, in the past 55 years, there have been as many players chosen from Alabama State as Alabama. Maybe more amazing is the fact that none of the other ‘Bama players before Jones had ever been selected in a higher round—Tackle Bob Wood was a fourth round pick in 1940. It should be noted that the Rams selected Kevin Greene with the 113th pick in the 1985 NFL draft.
The Rams wrapped up their draft activity with two fifth round selections after trading away their sixth round picks. Brandon McGee was the first player taken from Miami (Florida) since Damione Lewis was chosen in the first round in 2001. The last time the Rams took a cornerback from Miami was 1991 when Robert Bailey was picked in the fourth round. Running back Zac Stacy from Vanderbilt was the other fifth round selection. He became the first player from Vandy to be selected by the Rams since 1985 when wide receiver Chuck Scott was taken in the second round.
Although the Rams had no choices in the last two rounds of this year’s draft, they have had some famous late round picks in years past when the draft could go 30 rounds. K.C. Jones from the University of San Francisco was taken by the Rams in the 30th and last round of the 1955 draft. Jones turned down football in favor of basketball and he was part of the Boston Celtics during their glory days and was eventually the coach as well. Rafer Johnson from UCLA was a 28th round selection in 1959, but he was more focused on the decathlon and he won the gold medal in that event at Rome in the 1960 Olympics. Eight years later, Johnson was standing next to Bobby Kennedy at the time of his assassination in Los Angeles and helped subdue Sirhan Sirhan. In 1984, Johnson lit the torch to open the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics played in the same stadium where the Rams had played for many years. Another Olympian, Tommie Smith, from San Jose State was a ninth round pick in 1967. He did not play, but he won medals in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and became famous along with John Carlos for their Black Power salute on the victory podium.
As it turned out, the SEC had 63 of the 254 players drafted this year. LSU, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia combined had more selections than any other conference in the nation. Once again, there were more defensive backs (52) selected than any other position. There were 123 offensive players and 127 defensive players chosen along with four kickers. Over the past three drafts, the percentage of offensive players selected is remarkably consistent at 49.2, 49.4, and 48.7 percent. What an interesting draft it was, particularly for Rams fans, to whet our appetites for a season that starts barely four months from now.
Blog provided by Dr. Richard S. Winer, M.D. for TonySoftli.com