How does Rams 2023 draft class grade one year later?

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions
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The Athletic re-graded the 2023 draft class. How did the Rams end up?

The Los Angeles Rams will be looking to replicate their success from the 2023 NFL Draft in the upcoming draft in April. With a first round pick for the first time since the 2016 season, the Rams will be looking to capitalize on that and hopefully select a player that can significantly help the franchise for the next decade.

Following a series of poor draft results, general manager Les Snead finally hit the jackpot last season. The Rams found players like Steve Avila, Kobie Turner, Byron Young, Puka Nacua, and others who may still end up as key contributors.

One of the most common exercises after the draft is for experts to give each team a “draft grade”. However, grades don’t always make sense at the time given that we don’t know what those players will become. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler ranked the 2023 Rams class number 28 out of 32 following the draft. Meanwhile, The Ringer’s Danny Kelly gave the Rams a “C+” in his draft grades.

While waiting three years is a good period of time to wait, one year later at least gives a better idea of the initial impact of a draft class and what its upside could be. The Athletic’s Diante Lee re-graded each team’s 2023 class. Lee gave the Rams a “B” and put them in the “sped up the timeline” category. Here’s what Lee had to say,

“Puka Nacua’s (No. 177) rookie season has been covered in depth — he produced nearly 1,500 yards receiving on 160 targets. His blocking ability as a big slot also brought new versatility to the Rams’ run game, something that had been sorely missed since the early days of Sean McVay’s tenure. Best of all, Nacua’s emergence gives Los Angeles a smooth succession plan if the wear and tear on Cooper Kupp continues to hurt his production and availability. Byron Young (No. 77) and Kobie Turner (No. 89) combined for 98 pressures and 17 sacks — an incredible amount of production from rookie defensive linemen. Los Angeles’ highest pick, Steve Avila (No. 36), gave the oddddffense an immediate return as a mauler in the run game and a solid pass protector.”

That grade seems a little low, but the tier placement and explanation are more than fair. Heading into last season, the Rams weren’t seen as a team that was supposed to make the playoffs. However, players like Avila, Young, Turner, and especially Nacua ended up making huge impacts that were crucial to the teams’ success. Those players performing as well as they did in 2023 did speed up the timeline a little bit and will the Rams a good chance at competing in 2024. Getting four starters in a draft class is a home run. There were certainly misses i.e. Stetson Bennett. With that said, Snead needed to have a good draft and he hit it out of the park. Again, a “B” seems low and A- or even B+ may be more appropriate, but the class certainly sped up the overall timeline. Those players will help the Rams team build going forward as it gives them some young contributors that they were missing. It should also give them some flexibility going forward.

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Title: How does Rams 2023 draft class grade one year later?
Author: Blaine Grisak

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