Nov. 25, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA: St. Louis Rams wide receiver (13) Chris Givens catches a touchdown pass under pressure from Arizona Cardinals safety (31) Justin Bethel in the third quarter at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

St Louis Rams Offensive Skill Players: Speed Kills

The St Louis Rams were already one of the youngest teams in the NFL in 2012, and they managed to get even younger over the offseason.  The team also managed to get considerably faster on both sides of the ball, but especially on offense.  After watching the NFL draft and reading all of the post draft coverage on the Rams selections something occurred to me, for the second straight year a majority of the Rams draft class is expected to make significant contributions their rookie season.  The youth movement is in full swing in St. Louis for sure.  The other thing that hit me was the speed that the Rams were adding to their roster through the draft, after already adding the speedy tight end Jared Cook in free agency.  I thought it would be interesting to put together a chart of the Rams skill position players that shows their ages and 40 yard dash times (40 times taken from 

Player, Pos. Height Weight Age 40 Yard Time
Bradford, QB 6’4” 224 25 4.7
Pead, RB 5’10” 197 23 4.39
Richardson, RB 5’10” 196 23 4.46
Stacy, RB 5’8” 216 22 4.53
Kendricks, TE 6’3” 247 25 4.57
Cook, TE 6’5” 248 26 4.49
Givens, WR 6’ 198 23 4.35
Quick, WR 6’3” 220 23 4.50
Pettis, WR 6’3” 207 25 4.56
Austin, WR 5’9” 174 22 4.28
Bailey, WR 5’10” 193 22 4.46
Average 6’ ½” 210.9 23.5 4.48

 Not surprisingly Bradford turned in the slowest 40 time of the bunch, but at 4.7 seconds his time is pretty good for the position.  In the 2013 scouting combine 13 QBs recorded 40 yard dash times, the fastest time was 4.59 seconds by Geno Smith and the slowest was 5.11 seconds by Landry Jones.  If Bradford had participated at the 2013 scouting combine he would have turned in the 4th fastest time and would have easily been ahead of the average time of 4.86 seconds.  As the read option quarterbacks were stealing the show last season it became easy for people to forget just how good of an athlete Sam Bradford really is.  One thing that is surprising is how much faster Isaiah Pead’s 40 time was compared to Daryl Richardson’s, as many people see Richardson as the speed back in the Rams offense.  The Rams offense has 3 skill players (2 WR 1 RB) that run a sub 4.4 40 yard dash, that type of speed should allow the Rams to find favorable matchups all over the field.  At 4.57 seconds Lance Kendricks has the second slowest time for the Rams skill players, but of the 14 TEs who ran the 40 at the 2013 NFL combine only one player posted a faster time (4.5 by Arkansas TE Chris Gragg).  Kendricks’ running mate Jared Cook boasts one of the most impressive combinations of size and speed in the NFL regardless of position, and at 26 years old he is just entering his prime.  If you haven’t watched a highlight reel on Jared Cook I highly recommend it, perhaps no player on the Rams offense (outside of Tavon Austin) has as much big play potential.  Cook is a matchup nightmare as he is both too large AND too fast for most cornerbacks to cover him, and linebackers and safeties don’t stand a chance one on one. 

The Rams have managed to put together an offense brimming with impressive athletes and incredible potential.  Unfortunately for the Rams there isn’t one player on the roster that is a “proven” player since Steven Jackson departed for the Atlanta Falcons.  The Rams have one of the better coaching staffs in the NFL and if they can develop their young talent the sky is the limit for this Rams offense.  Even with a top-notch coaching staff the Rams offense will undoubtedly experience some “growing pains” in 2013, but they should also produce some great highlight reel moments and finally generate some media buzz.  Thanks for reading and as always Go Rams!!!

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