With the Los Angeles Rams taking an aggressive approach to acquire star players in exchange for early-round picks, the draft becomes even more important when it comes to finding depth and potential starters. The Rams made eight selections in the 2022 NFL draft at a variety of positions and they didn’t make their first pick until No. 104 overall.
After going 5-12 in the regular season in 2022, ESPN ranked the Rams’ draft class from a year ago as the second-least productive group of rookies in the NFL. The 2022 class for Los Angeles was comprised of Logan Bruss, Cobie Durant, Kyren Williams, Quentin Lake, Derion Kendrick, Daniel Hardy, Russ Yeast, and AJ Arcuri.
After getting a chance to watch the first-year players this season, here are our grades for each rookie in the Rams’ 2022 draft class.
Round 3, Pick 104: Logan Bruss
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
The Rams tried to address the interior of the offensive line with their first selection in last year’s draft following the departure of Austin Corbett in free agency. Bruss was taken with the idea that he could compete for the starting right guard spot in training camp.
Sadly, Bruss suffered a season-ending torn ACL in the team’s second preseason contest against the Houston Texans. The Wisconsin product won’t receive a grade since he didn’t get an opportunity to play in his rookie season, but he figures to get a chance to be in the mix in 2023 assuming he’s healthy.
Round 4, Pick 142: Cobie Durant
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
In the 2022 NFL draft, the Rams took four defensive backs and the first was Durant out of South Carolina State. Even though Durant wasn’t a big name coming out of college, he performed extremely well in his limited playing time for the Rams this season.
Despite logging snaps on defense in only seven games, Durant registered 22 tackles, five pass breakups, three interceptions, one sack, and one defensive touchdown while leading the league in interception yards (151). That sort of production from a fourth-round pick is why Durant receives a B+ grade for his performance this season.
Round 5, Pick 164: Kyren Williams
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There was a ton of turmoil at the running back position in the first half of the season for the Rams with Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers struggling. Amid the woes in the backfield, Akers was put on the trade block and Henderson was released, paving the way for Kyren Williams to potentially seize the starting job.
But after returning from an ankle injury he suffered in Week 1, the rookie out of Notre Dame never made the most of his opportunities, allowing Akers to finish the season strong as the clear No. 1 back. While Williams flashed potential in the passing game, he received 15 total offensive snaps in the final four weeks and was demoted back to special teams in Week 18.
Round 6, Pick 211: Quentin Lake
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The Rams love to draft versatile safeties and they took Lake with the 211th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft out of UCLA. Entering the season, Lake was buried on the depth chart behind guys like Jordan Fuller, Nick Scott, and Taylor Rapp.
After getting a total of 11 defensive snaps in the first 17 weeks of the season, Lake logged 52 defensive snaps in Week 18 due to injuries. Lake recorded eight combined tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack, and one pass breakup in Week 18, and he could see more playing time in 2023 with Rapp and Scott being unrestricted free agents this offseason.
Round 6, Pick 212: Derion Kendrick
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Right after taking Lake at the safety position, the Rams selected Kendrick out of Georgia to address the secondary again. It was known that Kendrick was a physical cornerback coming out of college and he showed that in his limited playing time as a rookie.
Kendrick was a formidable run defender at the cornerback spot with 43 tackles this season. Meanwhile, he understandably made some rookie mistakes in coverage and his lack of speed showed up at times.
Round 7, Pick 235: Daniel Hardy
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The Rams weren’t able to retain Von Miller in free agency ahead of the 2022 season and after not signing anyone in free agency, the only edge rusher Los Angeles added in the draft was Hardy. Hardy was extremely productive in his final collegiate season at Montana State, tallying 16 sacks in 2021.
Despite Justin Hollins and Terrell Lewis being released by the Rams this season, Hardy still managed to only get 41 defensive snaps all season. The lack of playing time for Hardy makes it tough to gauge where he’s at in his development right now, but the lack of snaps could also be a telling sign moving forward.
Round 7, Pick 253: Russ Yeast
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The fourth defensive back taken by the Rams in last year’s draft was Yeast. Due to injuries, Yeast saw more action in the second half of the season and he made his first career start in Week 18 versus the Seattle Seahawks.
Yeast suffered a scary injury in the regular-season finale as he was hospitalized with a pulmonary contusion, though, it appears the Rams got good news with his status moving forward. The first-year safety looked solid in his limited playing time this season and he could compete for an expanded role in 2023 if either/both Rapp and/or Scott depart in free agency.
Round 7, Pick 261: A.J. Arcuri
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After taking Arcuri with the team’s final pick of the 2022 NFL draft out of Michigan State, the Rams released him as part of their roster cuts for the 53-man roster. Arcuri was then added to the practice squad before the season began and was elevated to the active roster multiple times due to injuries along the offensive line.
Despite all of the injuries, Arcuri only made one start in Week 12 versus the Kansas City Chiefs. There’s a chance the Rams view Arcuri as a valuable depth option at tackle or he could be on the roster bubble again entering the 2023 season.