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Rams Draft Rewind: 2009 /Wagoner

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by RamBill, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. RamBill

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    Jul 31, 2010
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    Rams draft rewind: 2009
    By Nick Wagoner


    The NFL draft is still about a month away, leaving us with plenty of time to look ahead to what might happen. But it also gives us plenty of time to take a look back.

    In the interest of keeping Rams fans from re-living the nightmares of drafts gone by, we'll limit our look back to drafts where at least one player remains on the roster.

    With that, we continue with the 2009 class.

    The picks: OT Jason Smith (No. 2 overall), MLB James Laurinaitis (No. 35), CB Bradley Fletcher (No. 66), DT Dorell Scott (No. 103), WR Brooks Foster (No. 160), QB Keith Null (No. 196), RB Chris Ogbonnaya (No. 211)

    What's left: Like the class before it, only one player remains on the roster and it's another defensive centerpiece in the form of Laurinaitis. The Rams were surprised when Laurinaitis fell to them in the second round and wasted no time selecting him to finally allow for stability at a position that had none since the departure of London Fletcher about eight years before.

    Fletcher had some solid moments for the Rams as a starter before moving to Philadelphia as a free agent in 2013. Ogbonnaya is the only other pick still in the league, earning some opportunities as a member of the Cleveland Browns.

    Best pick: Again, this is an easy choice as Laurinaitis is by far the most productive player from the group and the only left on the roster. He's the defensive captain and the player the team relies on most to get the defense ready from snap to snap. While Laurinaitis has his limitations, he's still been one of the top tacklers in the league since his arrival. In the time since he was drafted, Laurinaitis has 635 tackles, sixth most in the NFL in that span. His 513 solo tackles rank first. Like Chris Long, Laurinaitis also received a lucrative contract extension before the 2012 season.

    Worst pick: While someone like Foster never really saw the field, the whiff on Smith was one of the biggest draft misses in Rams history. Although the 2009 draft class was pretty weak overall and especially at the top, Smith was considered a work in progress coming from Baylor's spread offense. He occasionally flashed the athleticism and run blocking ability that drew him such high marks entering the league but those moments were hard to come by. Injuries and a general indifference toward the game got Smith traded in 2012 and he did not make a roster in 2013.

    What could have been: The Rams undoubtedly needed an offensive tackle in the 2009 draft and found themselves choosing between Smith's potential and the more polished but lower upside of Eugene Monroe after failing to find a trade down partner. In a top 10 that hasn't yielded much in the way of star power, playing it safe with Monroe clearly would have been the better alternative. Monroe eventually went No. 8 to Jacksonville and though the Jaguars traded him to Baltimore this year, Monroe has mostly been a solid if unspectacular performer in his time in the league. Even if Monroe had never become a star in St. Louis, he could still be around and could have saved the team from needing to spend big money on a tackle such as Jake Long in free agency.