Where the Rams Went Wrong: Part 2 – the 1996 NFL Draft

 

This is headed far back in the way-back machine, which does not have too much impact on the current incarnation of the St. Louis Rams, but very important as Zygmunt, Shaw and Armey (who has since retired) are part of the current Rams brain trust.

First and foremost, with this week’s sentencing of troubled ex-Ram Lawrence Phillips, the Rams failure in 1996 comes front and center.  Lawrence Phillips was drafted 5th overall out of Nebraska and to say he was troubled was an understatement.  Phillips was recruited by Nebraska out of a foster home in California, and he was suspended while at Nebraska for assaulting his ex-girlfriend.  He was undeniably talented, but undeniably a very troubled individual and may have had some anger issues.  He was recently sentences for attacking some teenagers with his car after losing a pick-up football game.  However, I’ll never forget how loud the Rams fans cheered for him when he got his first 100 yard game.  Rams fans and management were desperate for a running back, and so they took the talented Lawrence Phillips.  Even though he was talented, he was still only on the Rams for two up and down seasons.  The Rams could have had: Eddie George – RB, who was picked 9 picks after Phillips.  George had a 9 year career, which is very long for a running back, and 4 Pro-Bowl selections.  He would have been a productive and solid player for the Rams.

Even larger of a mistake is the Rams second pick in the first round.  (I do not know what it is about the Rams and multiple first round selections.  Somehow they have a brain cramp and screw all their picks up.)  The Rams drafted speedster WR Eddie Kennison out of LSU.  Eddie’s main ability was his speed and he had speed to burn.  But, unfortunately he had nothing else.  Even with just his speed, he was able to have a productive rookie season, but soon he fell out of favor while he was struggling and was dealt to New Orleans for a draft pick.  He bounced around for a while and soon found resurgence in Kansas City late in his career.  Kennison has come full circle and now returned to the Rams as depth for their injured wide receiving corps.  The Rams could have had: Marvin Harrison – WR, who was picked right after Kennison.  Marvin has been a top wide receiver since he was drafted and gone to 8 Pro-Bowls and won a Super Bowl. 

Hindsight is always 20/20, but if the Rams had drafted Eddie George and Marvin Harrison in 1996 – the Rams would have been a more successful team in the late 90s and 2000s.


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