2017 NFL Draft: Los Angeles Rams had the worst draft

Apr 25 2017; Thousand Oaks, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead (left) and coach Sean McVay during a press conference at Cal Lutheran University. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 25 2017; Thousand Oaks, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead (left) and coach Sean McVay during a press conference at Cal Lutheran University. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Multiple teams botched single picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, but only the Los Angeles Rams had the worst draft of all. Very few picks used poorly. Not good.

Which team had the worst 2017 NFL Draft? Just like labeling the best draft, owner of the worst draft won’t truly be revealed until years down the line. To pick one so soon, worst draft depends on your point of view.

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The Chicago Bears had a very bad draft in our opinions, but they were not the worst. That honor belongs to the Los Angeles Rams, who had few picks and then used them poorly

Two brothers from New York, Dan Salem and Todd Salem, discuss the 2017 NFL Draft in today’s NFL Sports Debate.

Todd Salem:

The team with the worst draft could be the one who made the most reaches for suspect talent. It could be the roster that added the fewest quality players or failed to address any of its biggest needs. Worst could be related to personalities and chemistry; the team that disrupted its locker room with off-field issues. Or it could be the Chicago Bears.

I personally rule out the idea of failing to address roster needs. The teams that take the best players available usually, in the long run, end up better off. Rosters turn over too quickly to attempt to force a need into high draft picks.

I also don’t knock teams for taking chances on “bad” guys. For every Randy Gregory that doesn’t work out, there’s a Laremy Tunsil who does. Talent wins out. People praised the Philadelphia Eagles’ selection of Sidney Jones, even though he might miss the whole season with injury. In my cold, calculating mind, the same logic should apply to a pick like Gareon Conley, even if he’s suspended for quite a while.

With that, there are only three contenders for worst draft: obviously the Bears, then the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Los Angeles Rams.

Skeptics who read our other debates may point out that I thought Houston’s first-round trade was worse stylistically than Chicago’s first-round trade. This remains true, but the rest of the Bears’ draft is clearly worse. I didn’t like either quarterback trade. At least the Texans salvaged their draft with four great picks after round one. For Chicago, its second-round pick of Adam Shaheen was a reach in my mind; and I don’t have a positive feeling about anyone they took outside of Eddie Jackson, who could be good if healthy. The Bears simply had a really poor draft weekend, even beyond Thursday’s start.

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Cincinnati makes my finalist list because of everyone other than Joe Mixon. I don’t mind that selection at all. The Bengals, though, reached for John Ross, took a kicker in the middle rounds and it was not Zane Gonzalez, and they had 11 selections and didn’t blow me away with any of them.

But neither of them are my “winners” of worst draft. That distinction goes to the Los Angeles Rams.

The Rams didn’t have a first-round pick because of the Jared Goff trade last year. Do you hold that against them when grading the 2017 class? Yes! Of course! After that, Los Angeles forced an offensive skill pick in the second and third. The team is so bereft of offensive talent, analysts are talking themselves into Sam Rogers. I went to Virginia Tech, so I love Rogers — but come on. This was a case of compounding a mistake last year with forcing need picks this year. The team’s best pick was arguably its final pick, Ejuan Price in Round 7.

Dan Salem:

The Los Angeles Rams had one of the worst offenses in the NFL last season, ranking 31st in passing yards and rushing yards, while coming in dead last in points scored. The offensive line was poor as well. Yet I’m not ready to condemn Jared Goff, so the Rams are a solid work in progress. Despite adding a number of weapons to help Goff, they had the worst 2017 NFL Draft.

I know there weren’t any great offensive linemen in this year’s draft, but the Rams still could have found value at the position in one of the later rounds. I wish they had gone wide receiver in round two, instead of drafting a tight end. The position was much deeper this year. None of their picks stand out as slam dunks. For a rebuilding team, this really hurts.

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I’d have picked the Bears as worst myself, but I’m not down on Mitch Trubisky. I did not like the move up to get him, but I do like the player. That is still a factor for me. Since Goff has yet to make an impact on the field, the Rams’ move to pick him last year truly hurt their draft in 2017. They had the worst time thus far.