The Rams’ leading rusher, leading tackler, No. 2 pass-catcher, and top special teams tackler in 2013 all were rookies. In order, that would be Zac Stacy, Alec Ogletree, Tavon Austin and undrafted rookie Ray Ray Armstrong.
And nearly half of the Rams’ touchdown total — 18 of 38 — came from rookie players.

Granted, it takes a minimum of three years to get a read on any rookie class. But the first returns on the Class of 2013 are promising. In fact, at this point the Class of ’13 looks like a more promising group than its immediate predecessor.

No matter how you slice it, the Rams have gotten a lot of mileage out of the first two draft classes of coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead.

Including undrafted players, the Rams had 18 rookies on their roster for all or part of the 2012 season. Six of those rookies started at least one game, three started 10 or more games, and all told the rookie class combined for 43 starts.

The numbers are very similar for the smaller rookie group of 2013. A total of 13 rookies were on the roster for all or part of 2013. Five started at least one game, three started 10 or more contests, and all told the rookie class started 43 games.

The numbers for 2012 do not include undrafted punter Johnny Hekker and sixth-round place-kicker Greg Zuerlein, since they technically didn’t play offense or defense. But both have had big impacts at their positions — and both were much-improved in their second NFL seasons.

Although Zuerlein didn’t hit the kind of moonshots he did as a rookie, he missed only two of 28 field goals and tied for fourth in the league with 52 touchbacks in 2013. So he was clearly improved over his rookie season.

As for the rest of the 2012 draft class?

• First-round defensive tackle Michael Brockers and third-round cornerback Trumaine Johnson showed noticeable improvement in their second NFL seasons.

• Second-round wide receiver Brian Quick showed slight improvement.

• Second-round cornerback Janoris Jenkins and fourth-round wide receiver Chris Givens were, at best, stuck in neutral compared to their rookie seasons.

• Seventh-round running back Daryl Richardson became a forgotten man because of early-season injuries and the emergence of Stacy.

• Second-round running back Isaiah Pead was a non-factor, with his contributions largely limited to special teams over the second half of the season.

• Fifth-round offensive guard Rokevious Watkins was cut at the start of training camp after continuing to battle weight issues.

• And long forgotten seventh-round linebacker Aaron Brown hasn’t been around since early September 2012.
As for the seven-member draft class of 2013, only fourth-round center-guard Barrett Jones and fifth-round cornerback Brandon McGee didn't see much playing time, although McGee did develop into one of the core special teams players.

Besides the contributions of Ogletree, Stacy and Austin, third-round wide receiver Stedman Bailey made the most of his chance for playing time over the second half of the season and was starting by the end of 2013.

Although he missed six games in the middle of the season because of a broken leg, third-round strong safety T.J. McDonald ended up starting 10 contests. Coming back for the final six games was invaluable for his early-career development.