Am I going out on a limb here by saying the Rams’ young, inexperienced but talented group of pass-catches will be under a microscope during training camp?
Maybe just a little, right?
With hopes to add a spark to the offense, St. Louis drafted one of the most gifted playmakers in years. That spark is none other than the lightning in a bottle himself, Tavon Austin. The Rams will deploy him in a multitude of ways: inside, outside, in the backfield, and probably on special teams as well. The plan is to get him the ball “as much as possible.”
Although the Rams are smitten with their new target, who is a smooth blend of DeSean Jackson and Percy Harvin, the mixture of talent of the Rams’ receiving core will be jockeying for position for the duration of the offseason.
Besides Austin, St. Louis also drafted the other WR from West Virginia who is a star in his own right. Stedman Bailey finished his season with the Mountaineers totaling 114 receptions, 1,622 yards (3rd in the nation), with a monstrous 25 touchdown receptions. Bailey was the other receiver wearing blue and old gold.
It’s never easy trying to get a read on someone’s thoughts, but you can read between the lines on certain comments. Jeff Fisher and Les Snead both have said how rewarding it is to watch a player progress from year one to year two. As I absorb that comment, I can’t help but to think they are referring to Brian Quick. Blessed with raw athleticism, strong hands to pluck the ball out the air, and the size and leaping ability to out jump defenders, the development of Quick will play a pivotal part in Bradford’s ascent.
Without a doubt, speedster and last year’s standout rookie Chris Givens is penciled in as the starter and conventional wisdom points to Quick to starting alongside Givens. Throughout training camp last season as well as during the season, Snead and Fisher both said they have “envisioned Quick and Givens staring opposite of each other.” As much as Austin Pettis improved late in the season, he is a byproduct of the old regime. The arrival of Bailey, Austin and, a developing Quick will reduce Pettis’ production and time on the field, and not to mention the addition of TE Jared Cook who also will be split out wide a times.
As it stands, here is my prediction for the Rams final WR dept chart:
- Brian Quick
- Chris Givens
- Tavon Austin
- Stedman Bailey
- Austin Pettis
- Emory Blake