St. Louis Rams: Initial Grades for 2015 NFL Draft Class

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Round 7: Martin Ifedi, DL, Memphis


This grade on Ifedi may be more susceptible to change than any other player’s in this year’s Rams draft class. It’s difficult to know how he’ll fit in the Rams’ defensive scheme because his role was so different at Memphis, where he played more like a defensive tackle in the Tigers’ 3-4 scheme. Much like a guy who the Rams reportedly coveted in last year’s draft class, the Seattle Seahawks’ Cassius Marsh, and another player who they signed as an undrafted free agent, Ethan Westbrooks, Ifedi is a player who projects to play a much different role in the NFL than he did in college, and it should be interesting to see how he makes the adjustment.
While, at first glance, it would seem that the 6-foot-3, 275-pound Ifedi lacks the length or athleticism to be a successful edge rusher in the NFL, we’ve seen a similar player in William Hayes have success in that role with the Rams. In addition, Hayes has provided a unique skill as an interior pass rusher on obvious passing downs, and though the Rams don’t need that skill nearly as much from their defensive ends anymore with the emergence of Aaron Donald, but Ifedi should be able to do so if asked.

The Ifedi pick definitely carries some risk since he dealt with a knee injury that could possibly hold him back going forward, but it was a good spot to pull the trigger on him as the draft winded down. With the Rams already having five defensive ends with NFL experience–Chris Long, Robert Quinn, William Hayes, Eugene Sims, and Ethan Westbrooks–on their roster, it wasn’t the most necessary move to further boost the depth at the position, but if the Rams can turn him into a legitimate player, then good for them.

Next: Rams Announce Jersey Numbers for 2015 Draft Class