It’s no secret that wide receiver is one of the major positions of need for the St. Louis Rams, so I paid very close attention to the group of potential rookies that took part in the 2011 NFL Combine on Sunday. In my opinion, there was some good news and some bad news. The good news is that Alabama’s Julio Jones, the man most pundits have predicted will go to the Rams at 14, absolutely stole the show. The bad news is that he might have helped his stock so much that he will be gone when the Rams pick. Here is my overall review of the wide receivers.
Player I Was Most Impressed With: Julio Jones (Alabama)
I talked about him already, but he really was that good. The man ran a 4.39 40-yard dash, broad jumped 11-feet-3, and pretty much killed every other drill he was put through. Oh yeah, did I mention he did all of that with a foot injury that will require surgery? I don’t know if he’s still going to be there at 14, but I think it’s a no-brainer for the Rams if he is. The injury might cause him to slip a little bit, but I guess we will just have to wait and see.
Honorable Mention: AJ Green, Leonard Hankerson, Ronald Johnson, Jon Baldwin, Tori Gurley, Jeff Maehl
Green (Georgia) is an absolute stud, and he showed it in his workout. Hankerson (Miami FL) and Baldwin (Pitt) are two guys I have been keeping an eye on for a while now, and there is serious potential for both of those guys to be very good NFL WR’s. Johnson (USC) and Gurley (S. Carolina) were both much better than I expected, and they are guys that could be around later for the Rams. Maehl is a personal favorite from Oregon, and while I think he can be a nice NFL player, I’m not sure how well he would fit with the Rams.
Player I Was Most Disappointed With: Torrey Smith
I wouldn’t say that Smith (Maryland) was terrible, but I was really hoping he was going to become a breakout guy at this thing. I liked him going in, but he didn’t do anything to really stand out. He certainly wasn’t the worst player out there, but I was hoping he was going to solidify himself as part of that second group behind Jones and Green, and I didn’t feel like he did.
Dishonerable Mention: Titus Young, Austin Pettis, Jerrel Jernigan, Niles Paul, Jimmy Young
Young and Pettis (both Boise St.) kind of fall into the same category as Smith. They weren’t bad, but neither one of them really jumped off the page. Young could be one of the top guys in this class, but he didn’t leave a lasting impression on me with his workouts. Jernigan (Troy) is a guy who I really like, and his skill-set is excellent, but his performance during the drills was just ok. Paul (Neb) and Young (TCU) didn’t have a great showing, but nobody really stood out as completely terrible.
This class breaks down into a few groups in my estimation: Jones and Green at the top (by a bunch), followed by a group of guys still jockeying for position in the first couple of rounds, followed by everybody else. There are some nice smaller, possession-type guys here, but the Rams already have about seven of those guys on the roster. Jones is the target, but guys like Baldwin and Hankerson, along with some others, could be nice fits after the first round.
Topics: 2011 NFL Combine, 2011 NFL Draft, 40-yard Dash, AJ Green, Alabama, Austin Pettis, Broad Jump, Jeff Maehl, Jerrel Jernigan, Jimmy Young, Jon Baldwin, Julio Jones, Leonard Hankerson, Niles Paul, Ronald Johnson, St. Louis Rams, Titus Young, Tori Gurley, Torrey Smith, Wide Receiver