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

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Round 7: Bryce Hager, LB, Baylor


With the way they handled running back Zac Stacy over the past year, benching him and then drafting running back Todd Gurley to take his roster spot, the Rams really had no chance of getting proper value in return for a back who accumulated 973 yards over 12 games in 2013. The Rams made the best of the situation, though, trading Stacy for a seventh-round pick. They boosted their linebacker depth by using that pick to select Baylor’s Bryce Hager.

Though the Rams could have been better served to boost their depth at the defensive tackle position, where they have only three NFL-caliber players, it was a solid move to create some more competition at the linebacker position. The Rams’ depth is much better there than it was a year ago, as returning starters Alec Ogletree and James Laurinaitis figure to be complemented by a new addition, situational pass rusher Akeem Ayers. Backup options will include Daren Bates, arguably the team’s best special-teamer, Korey Toomer, who came on strong as a special-teamer at the end of 2014, former starter Jo-Lonn Dunbar, and Hager, the newest addition to the group.

Hager may be a more logical fit as a backup to Laurinaitis at the inside linebacker position than any of the other backup linebackers, and he can also fill in at the outside spots and play special teams. It’s quite possible that Hager will end up on the Rams’ practice squad, since they’ve got five returning linebackers plus Ayers and safety Mark Barron, who was used often in a linebacker-like role during 2014. With that said, he’s a solid selection and could end up as a steady depth player on this team.

Next: Round 7: Martin Ifedi