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St. Louis Rams Day 3 Draft Recap

Posted May 11, 2014

The Rams continued to add defensive depth throughout the late rounds of the draft and earned high marks from national pundits across the board.

Entering the week of the NFL draft, Rams General Manager Les Snead defined success during the team’s 12 draft selections as capitalizing on ‘stacking good decisions.’

By the looks of the Rams’ roster at the conclusion of the weekend, and in examining the reactions of many of the league’s respected draft analysts, it appears Snead accomplished that mission.

“The team that got better immediately is the Rams,” NFL Network analyst and former NFL fullback Heath Evans said following the conclusion of the draft.

Prior to utilizing any of their 12 available draft selections, the Rams were primed to enter the 2014 season as a potential top-10 defense. The team’s efforts throughout the last three days have only underscored that sentiment.

The Rams built upon the foundation laid in the first-round selection of DT Aaron Donald by adding five defensive players in the following eight draft choices. The Rams drafted four defensive backs, led by second-round defensive back Lamarcus Joyner, who was joined by safeties Maurice Alexander and Christian Bryant, as well as cornerback E.J. Gaines. They then capped their weekend by utilizing their next-to-last pick on Missouri DE Michael Sam.

The moves built upon what was already a formidable defensive unit, and created what will certainly be stout competition at multiple positions come training camp.

“The first day, they were getting praised with their picks, and they should be,” Rams LB James Laurinaitis said. “I think there’s a pretty good idea of what the Rams’ identity is after this weekend. You had a pretty good idea before, but after this weekend, it’s all about the interior.”

The addition of Sam adds yet another valued pass-rusher to a group of defensive ends that includes super-subs William Hayes and Eugene Sims backing up starters Robert Quinn and Chris Long.

In addition to what was primarily a defensive-focused draft, the Rams addressed a significant need along the offensive line, drafting tackle/guard Greg Robinson with the second overall selection.

They continued to build depth at offensive line in the sixth and seventh rounds, drafting Portland State tackle Mitchell Van Dyk and Tennessee State center Demetrius Rhaney, respectively. The Rams also built their depth at quarterback behind starter Sam Bradford and backup Shaun Hill by selecting SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert with a sixth-round pick.

While the national pundits heaped praise on General Manager Les Snead and Head Coach Jeff Fisher for their draft efforts, Snead opined that the greater challenge lies ahead.

“I think I mentioned this morning on an interview,” Snead said, “we made the decisions.”

“Obviously if you make them, you think they’re good. But, now is when all of us and the coaching staff and support staff, we’ve got to get together and spend energy making those decisions a success. I always say this: the work starts now, because these kids, they have ability and we picked them and we’re glad they’re here. Now it’s up to the organization to make them successful.”