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Where the Rams Went Wrong: Part 1 – 2001 NFL Draft


Note: I’m going to work on trying to see where the Rams went wrong in Trades, Free Agency and the Draft to see how the Rams got where they are today.  First post, for the bye week is the 2001 NFL Draft.

Everyone knows about the 2000 draft and the mistake of drafting Trung Candidate in the first round, but the 2001 NFL draft was even worse for the Rams as they had three picks in the first round and nothing to show for any of them.  Hindsight is always 20/20 for all past drafts, so I’ll try not to get too picky.  All the players drafted in this draft should be solid veterans for a Rams team that is dire need of solid veterans.  Let’s go to the list.

Round 1 – Pick 12 – Damione Lewis – DT – Lewis struggled in his years in St. Louis and became a solid contributor for the Carolina Panthers.  He is currently a decent player for Carolina, but not the kind of superstar you would expect from a top-half of the first round selection.    The Rams could have had Marcus Stroud who was picked immediately after Lewis and has been a top 5 DT in all his years in the league.  This was certainly a huge mistake on the Rams part.

 Round 1 – Pick 20 – Adam Archuleta – SS – Adam played great in his first few years in St. Louis and the Rams even molded their defense around him to play to his ability to stop the run and play near the line of scrimmage.  Archuleta could never cover and struggled playing traditional strong safety.  He was signed to a lucrative free agent offer in Washington and largely disappointed.  After one year in Washington and one year in Chicago as a backup, Archuleta is out of football.  The Rams could have had Nate Clements – CB who was picked immediately after Archuleta and has been a good cover corner for Buffalo his entire career.  I don’t remember if the 2001 Rams needed corners, but they are always good to have.

The rest of the draft after the jump!

Round 1 – Pick 29 – Ryan Pickett – DT – “Big Grease” was a solid contributor to the Rams starting in his second season.  He has since moved on to Green Bay and has started 34 games for them in 2+ years.  (I’m sure I’ll cover those free agency blunders in a later WtRWW.)  Good pick by the Rams although Pickett has played better in Green Bay than he ever did in St. Louis.  The Rams could have had Reggie Wayne or Todd Heap who were picked immediately behind Pickett.  They had their choice of a potential Pro-Bowl WR or TE and passed.  The Rams did have a need at DT, but we will address that next.

Round 2 – Pick 42 – Tommy Polley – OLB – Polley was talented but eventually unable to put his gifts to good use on the football field.  He is now out of football after playing in the league for 5+ years.  The Rams could have had Kris Jenkins – DT who was picked two picks after Polley.  (Just imagine if the Rams DTs were Stroud and Jenkins, wow, just wow.)

Round 3 – Pick 83 – Brian Allen – LB – Honestly, I do not know much about Allen, he left the Rams after only one year and started only a handful of games for the Panthers and is out of football after 3+ years.  The Rams got very little value on this pick and could have done considerably better.  The Rams could have had Reggie Hayward – DE, Casey Rabach – C or Jonas Jennings – T, all who have been solid starters in the NFL and were picked within 12 picks of Allen.

Quick Hits on the rest of the 2001 NFL draft :

The Rams drafting someone named Milton Wynn – WR in the fourth round, he appeared in four games over three years.  None were with the Rams.  Notables that the Rams could have drafted: Correll Buckhalter – RB or Edge Hartwell – LB.

Also in the fourth round the Rams drafted Brandon Manumaleuna, who underachieved with the Rams but has been a solid contributor in the NFL.  Not a bad pick.

In the fifth round, the Rams drafted Jerametrius Butler – CB who started for the Rams for a few years and I distinctly enjoyed saying his name.  Solid pick in the fifth round as there were no stars picked around him.

The Rams desperately struggled in this draft and are paying for it this year with their talent level.  This is the first amongst the Rams terrible drafts.  Additionally, none of the players that the Rams picked in the 2001 draft are on the team in 2008.  I don’t think this point can be emphasized enough.  When players like Kris Jenkins (who had character issues coming into the draft that caused him to drop, but has had no problems in the NFL) and Marcus Stroud are passed on by the Rams, there was a problem.  This is the first of many points in time when the Rams went wrong.

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One Response to “Where the Rams Went Wrong: Part 1 – 2001 NFL Draft”

  1. Rams fan in Colts country (Fort Wayne IN, 90 miles n/ne of Indy)
    I’d love to see part 2 of this (series?)

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