The City of Angels, and other creatures great and small, has their football team back. And in two seasons they will have a money making stadium development to play in. In the interim the organization has two seasons in the Colosseum to warm up and improve the product. Step one was the 2016 Draft and that was all about getting a franchise QB to groom. So they got out their credit card and mortgaged the future to draft the guy who will be the West Coast face of the franchise.
Round 1 JARED GOFF/QB/CALIFORNIA 6’4/215 4.79/40 9″H/32 3/4″A
In evaluating GOFF one of the first considerations has to be how much burden was placed squarely on his shoulders at CAL. He had a few nice weapons to throw to but little else around him for his 3 years at CAL. Some of his numbers were mind blowing if studied carefully. How about 43 TD and only 13 INT in 2015. And he also completed his throws at a 64.5% pace last season. During Draft prep workouts GOFF hummed a fastball (football wise) 58 mph, which is upper echelon work. The biggest obstacle to overcome in grooming GOFF is the reality that he never took snaps from Center in college. There will be growing pains, but it seems clear that he’s in the elite class and likely to be at the peak of his game by that 2018 season, when the new stadium opens. Honestly, the biggest question here is not whether GOFF was worthy of going No. 1, but whether the team can assemble a winning cast to go around him, especially in light of less Draft ammunition than they should have in the next few seasons. I expect GOFF to start come September, with a healthy dose of handing off to TODD GURLEY being his primary security blanket. Do not discount the significance of his being a California born and bred player to enhance his value to his franchise.
Pick # 1 GBN Rank: 8 Ourlads Rank: 7 PP Rank: 7
Round 4 TYLER HIGBEE/TE/W KENTUCKY 6’6/249 4.80/40 10 1/4″H/33 1/4″A
This pick is a bit questionable given that HIGBEE has had some off-field issues, including one just before the Draft. But he certainly presents the team with a better all-around TE option than they have on their roster, after letting JARED COOK leave as a VFA. Big hands and long arms make HIGBEE a very large target to throw to, with a huge catch radius. He needs to work on his blocking, but his rep on his college team was that hard work was not a shortcoming for him. He’s not a speedster, but he gets open and was a top notch red zone threat in college play.
Pick # 110 GBN Rank: 210 Ourlads Rank: 245 PP Rank: 163
Round 4 PHAROH COOPER/WR/RS/SOUTH CAROLINA 5’11/203 4.61/40 9 1/8″/32 1/4″A
Cooper got seriously knocked down in prospect rankings because of his rather slow 40-time. But when you watch game tape of him he is a multi-purpose weapon who you find ways to get the ball to. He has a solid build, much like a RB, and sees the field very well. Quickness, and amazing change of direction ability highlight his game. He spent 84% of his snaps last season in the slot, but I would guess the RAMS will move him around to confuse defensive coverages. He’s a solid all-around player and an intense blocker downfield for his mates. His prospect ranking fall due to lack of straight line speed was an error in judgement by some teams who could use what he will bring to his team. Very good value pick by the RAMS. All three of us had him ranked well into our Top 100, as you can see below.
Pick # 117 GBN Rank: 83 Ourlads Rank: 71 PP Rank: 62
Round 6 TEMARRICK HEMINGWAY/TE/SC STATE 6’5/244 4.71/40 10″H/34″A
This long, fairly lean player is a prototype of the downfield receiving TE prospect for today’s NFL. He really caught the eye of many scouts at the NFLPA Game. He has work to do as a blocker, and my guess is he’ll weight 255 lbs.+ by the 2017 season, when he will be counted on for heavy duty lifting in their receiving corps. He’ll have to work hard just to make the roster this year, but I believe the future is bright for this hands-catching TE.
Pick # 177 GBN Rank: 250 Ourlads Rank: 300+ NR PP Rank: 198
Round 6 JOSH FORREST/ILB/KENTUCKY 6’3/249 4.78/40 9 1/2″H/33 1/2″A
He began his college playing career as a S/WR, but made a very smooth transition to an ILB spot for the Wildcats. He got better and more productive each and every season at Kentucky. As a senior he racked up 93 tackles ranging sideline to sideline. He also has shown he still remembers some of his lessons from his S days. In 2015 he dropped into coverage with enough alacrity to record 2 INT and 5 PBU. His nice size and long arms make him a force to be reckoned with as opposing QB try to read the secondary. He shows very good range and pursuit ability. With the cutting of JAMES LAURINAITIS from their LB group FORREST will be given every chance to compete for the starting MLB spot right away.
Pick # 190 GBN Report: 183 Ourlads Rank: 190 PP Rank: 262
Round 6 MIKE THOMAS/WR/SOUTHERN MISS 6’1/193 4.54/40 9 5/8″H/31 3/8″A
Other than someone in their draft room confusing this Mike Thomas with the guy from Ohio State and figuring the rest of the teams goofed up, I don’t really get this selection. THOMAS showed flashes as a senior with some leaping, stretching receptions, but despite nice sized hands statisticians say he dropped an incredible 11.3% of the throws that came his way. That’s a somewhat subjective stat, but his number is double what the average receiver drops. At the best, he ends up on their practice squad for developmental work in 2016, IMO. To be blunt about it, the last thing you want on your team with a young developmental QB in place is a guy who drops a lot of balls. A nice stout DL would have been a nicer pick here IMO.
Pick # 206 GBN Rank: 346+ NR Ourlads Rank: 299 PP Rank: 300+ NR
This Draft is all about GOFF and him becoming a 10+year franchise QB by the time their new house opens in 2 years. But even so, I believe they could have come up with a more useful overall draft class, for a less than Play-Off level roster. Let’s just hope that this really does lay the foundation for a competitive franchise as the RAMS return home. However, this still looks like a .500-at best team for 2016. Let’s hope for their sake that they don’t use up TODD GURLEY by the time they play in their real home stadium.