At the time of the 2016 NFL Draft, there were some critics that believed the Los Angeles Rams were making a mistake by giving up numerous picks in order to trade up in the first round with the Tennessee Titans to take Jared Goff at No. 1.
For years leading up to 2016, the Rams were in desperate need of help at the quarterback position, and went through numerous players that turned out to be complete busts, which was frustrating at times since the defense was in decent shape.
Gambling on Goff following a stellar career at California seemed risky at the time, but looking back, this was the best decision Los Angeles ever could have made since this team has become a serious threat in the NFC over the last two seasons.
The Skinny: They traded up to land quarterback Jared Goff with the first overall pick, and that now is a move that has paid off in a big way — despite the way he played in the Super Bowl. He is their franchise passer. Their next pick came in the fourth round when they took tight end Tyler Higbee, who is a starter on their offense. They got little after that
How I did: I thought the move to land Goff was the right move, so I hit that one. I liked the pick of Higbee, but also liked fourth-round receiver Pharoah Cooper, but he is no longer with the team.
Prisco points out the obvious that trading up for Goff paid off in the biggest way possible for the Rams, and despite what took place in Super Bowl 53, there’s every reason in the world to feel confident in his ability to continue leading the offense moving forward.
As for some of the other picks, while it’s great to see Tyler Higbee continuing to look like a steal for Los Angeles, it is crazy to still think about how Pharoh Cooper is no longer with the team since he was a Pro Bowler during the 2017 season.
Based off his numbers since 2016 when he went 0-7 as a starter, it’s been amazing to watch Goff get better with experience over the years for the Rams, as getting the chance to work with Sean McVay has been the best thing to happen to his career.
Plus, if Goff ever helps Los Angeles secure a Super Bowl title or two over the next couple of years, maybe the grade will eventually improve from a B+ to an A- or A.
Brandin Cooks continued his consistent ways in 2018, posting his fourth straight season with at least 65 catches and 1,000 yards. It was his first of many years with the Los Angeles Rams, meeting (and exceeding) just about every expectation he faced when he was traded by the Patriots.
Jared Goff targeted Cooks frequently throughout the season, throwing 117 passes his way. More often than not, Cooks came down with receptions, producing an excellent passer rating for Goff.
According to Pro Football Focus, Cooks thrived on three particular routes: corners, posts and screens. On corner routes, he produced a perfect passer rating of 158.3, which was tied for Austin Hooper for the best in the NFL.
On post routes, Cooks’ rating was 143.9, second only behind Jordy Nelson (155.8). With his speed, he was able to get behind the defense and break open for Goff on several occasions. His quickness was also deadly on screen passes, which he produced a rating of 127.4 on – second in the NFL behind Christian Kirk (136.7).
Cooks wasn’t the only Rams player to get recognized by PFF on this list. Tyler Higbee surprisingly made an appearance, leading the league on quick outs. He produced a passer rating of 143.3 on such routes.
That’s not to say they won’t be looking for offensive playmakers, too, as McVay said this week.
“I think when you go back and you look at our tape and say, ‘Alright where are some areas that we could be better as coaches, starting out, but what are some of the nuances from a skill set that we are looking for, whether it’s from a receiver, tight end, or running back?’” McVay said, via the team’s official site. “In a lot of instances it’s playmakers and guys that can do different things and have a versatile skill set whether it be running back, tight end, or receiver.”
Assuming Todd Gurley is healthy, running back isn’t a pressing need – especially with Malcolm Brown set to return as a restricted free agent. C.J. Anderson is a candidate to return, too, but he hasn’t received an offer from the Rams, or any other team, for that matter.
The wide receiver unit is rich with talent thanks to Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp – who are all backed up by Josh Reynolds – while Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee are the top two tight ends. It’d be unusual to see the Rams address any of these needs with the 31st overall pick, but don’t rule out a selection or two being used on offense.