Dec 8, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin (11) runs the ball during the third quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the rams 30-10. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

How The Rams Can Fix Their Problems At Wide Receiver

Jan 3, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Sammy Watkins (2) runs against Ohio State Buckeyes during the second half in the 2014 Orange Bowl college football game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since the departures of Rams wide receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce from St. Louis, the Rams have been searching desperately for that number one receiver.

From Donnie Avery, to hopeful Danario Alexander, and finally Brandon Llyod, the Rams have struggled to find that guy. The Rams now have Chris Givens and Brian Quick who very well could add their names to that list.

Replacing great players like Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt is never an easy task, but nobody could have expected it to be this hard. The Rams replaced Steven Jackson just one year after he left, how could finding a number one receiver be so difficult?

Finding that number one receiver has been difficult though, and for the sixth consecutive season, the Rams failed to have a 1,000-yard receiver, tied for the second longest drought in the NFL.

Call it bad drafting, but in reality, some of it has just been simple bad luck. In the years that a top elite wide receiver has been in the draft, the Rams seem to have a pick in the middle of the first round, and the years the Rams have had a pick atop the first round, there were no elite receivers worthy of a high draft pick.

In 2007 when Calvin Johnson came out, the Rams held the 13th overall pick. In 2008, the highest receiver went 33rd overall and the Rams drafted him, Donnie Avery. In Avery’s second season he tore his ACL and never played another snap in a Rams uniform.

After having the number two and number one overall picks in 2009 and 2010, the Rams drafted 14 overall only to have A.J. Green and Juilo Jones get drafted at number four and number six.

In 2012 the Rams got jumped by Jacksonville who got Justin Blackmon, but settled for Brian Quick in the second round, only to have 1,000 yard receiver Alshon Jeffrey go to Chicago a few picks later. Finally in 2013 St. Louis had enough and drafted up to get Tavon Austin, and yet still, the Rams are without that number one receiver.

Last season, Austin led Rams wide receivers with 40 catches. To find the last time the Rams’ leading wide receiver had fewer catches in a season, one must go all the way back to 1986. That year, Henry Ellard led the entire club with just 34 catches.

Givens led the Rams with 569 receiving yards this season. Again, it’s Ellard in 1986 for the last time a Rams wideout led with fewer receiving yards (447).

Is this going to be one of the great curses of professional sports? The Curse of the Bambino, The Curse of Billy Penn,  or worst of all The Curse of the Billy Goat. Is this the curse of the Greatest Show on Turf? Are the Rams now suffering for having such a great receiving corps for such a long time?

How do the Rams stop this drought? Do the Rams stay patient, keep working with the youngsters and look for better days from the group? Or do they go the other way? Keep drafting or trying to upgrade the position through trades or free agency until they get it right?

The good news is, for the first time in a while, the Rams have some luck headed into the 2014 NFL draft. The Rams hold two picks in the first round, one of which being in the top five. Thankfully for the Rams, there may finally be a receiver worthy of being taken in the top five when they are drafting in the top five in Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

Even if the Rams miss out on Watkins, Marquise Lee and Mike Evans would be options when the Rams select at 13 overall, both of which also can be number one options on the outside.

Adding Watkins would give the Rams an elite force on the outside, something they have desperately needed. The Rams had hoped Brian Quick would be that force, but two years in, he just hasn’t produced. How much longer can you wait?

Adding another guy on the outside that defenses would have to respect could open things up for Chris Givens on the opposite side. Chris Givens had a down year in 2013, but I wouldn’t say it’s time to give up on him just yet.

In all of Bradford’s time in St. Louis he hasn’t had a true number one receiver, Watkins would be just that right off of the bat. The Rams have been searching for an answer at wide receiver  for the past six years, Sammy Watkins could just be the answer.

Adding a veteran wide receiver  in free agency might not be a bad idea as well. The Rams don’t have to go after one of the top receivers, but adding a veteran presence in the locker room wouldn’t be a bad idea.

One of this team’s biggest needs this offseason is a number one wide receiver. It’s time to break this curse. In order for this offense to take their game to the next level, a number one receiver, whether they get it through the draft or free agency, is crucial.




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  • Tim

    Amen, brother, and you can go ahead and look real hard at Tajh Boyd too.

    • Gary Stewart

      one is as good as the other once you get past the first 3-4 qbs aj tahj mettenburger murray all have shortcomings i say we stockpile a few picks and get cousins if washington will ever talk to us again. btw cousins had wash in front b4 dallas came back last minute against the wash defense. seems to me he came close to a win in all 3 games and with a better d backing him, he would make a good backup insurance policy for bradford. i think the rams d is gonna get much better and its not bad now

  • kyle

    What if just what if the rams got maclin in FA and drafted Sammy Watkins ? 0_0 adding all the guys like Bailey Austin and cook as well as givens Pettis and quick. Just imagine all of the guys we have devolving into something by next year plus Watkins and maclin we would have so much freaking talent it wouldn’t be funny Bradford could literally put up manning number a if that happened

    • Blaine Grisak

      That would be the perfect scenario. I would love the Maclin Watkins duo. I can’t even imagine what the results would be.

      • Gary Stewart

        my guess is if the rams draft watkins and sign macklin givens or quick would be traded for a 4th 5th round choice in 2015 the other remains as depth. pettis is in no mans land because bailey and tavon arent going anywhere unless bailey brings a late 1 early 2. (i wouldnt do it even if it makes sense but…)?? who knows with snead fisher

    • cesarnoel

      The question about Maclin would be if his knees are truly healed and can he be productive. I’d prefer Anquan Boldin even at his age for at least a year or two. Boldin always kills the Rams with his pass catching skills and physicality despite his age AND lack of speed.

      • Blaine Grisak

        I take Maclin all day over Boldin, Maclin will heal just fine and he’ll be just as productive.

        • cesarnoel

          ACL injuries for wide receivers don’t bode well and tend to repeat the injury in the long run(the other Steve Smith, Danario Alexander). Boldin might be up on age but still produces at a high level and he’s healthy most of the time.

    • Gary Stewart

      sounds great are they going to 2 balls at a time??otherwise 8 receivers makes it hard for anyone or two to flourish

  • Larry glasper

    This is exactly who the Rams should get, this will line Chris Given vs the second cornerback for each team. If eh cannot beat them, then we have a problem.

  • pboi619

    I think we should draft Watkins first then draft Ha ha Cliton Dix…and i like the idea as Tajh Boyd in as a back up would be great…Im still a Bradford fan but god forbid for some reason he goes down again we have extra talent at the QB postion

    • Blaine Grisak

      I like Murray from Georgia or AJ McCarron a little better as a backup in the draft, but I wouldn’t mind Boyd. You are 100% right though, we NEED a backup that doesn’t force the offense to take a huge step back.

    • cesarnoel

      Personally I would prefer a college QB who has already has experience in a pro style offense. Zach Mettenberger (his OC is Cam Cameron) or AJ McCarron would fit the bill because the transition to the pro level is not that difficult to them.

      • pboi619

        i do like AJ McCarron but for a longtime now we have only drafted a pocket passer which i like in bradford but sometimes a QB with a little mobility doesnt hurt…plus im not all the way sold on Mc Carron and i just dont like how Mettenderger play hes not clutch enough for me…

        • cesarnoel

          The reason why I prefer Mettenberger and McCarron over these mobile QB is because they are these ones who are playing the Pro Style Offense. And McCarron has mobile enough to run when needed, I would have added Stanford’s Kevin Hogan here but he’s not that great as these two because both has played in the SEC. We are in a way drafting back ups who can learn behind Bradford AND Kellen Clemens.

          • Michael Thompson

            Would you prefer two Qbs coming off ACLI injuries. I understand the potential in Mettenberger. But both him and Bradford tore their ACL. Wouldn’t be comfortable with that.

          • cesarnoel

            I don’t have problem with QB off ACL injuries. they are both pocket passers anyway and they are not running QB’s and besides Sam is already walking as of the Week 16 and on his way to his rehab.

          • MichaelNupe Thompson

            True. I just know the rams have always dealt with injuries to key players and I feel that they should draft healthy players to start fresh. I didn’t get to watch to much college football but I saw some. I honestly kind of like the ideal of Boyd being the backup.

  • TheSyndicateProject

    We wait two more years for Quick and draft Watkins

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  • cesarnoel

    If I’m GIvens and Quick, I would personally place a call to Isaac Bruce or Torry Holt to improve their craft even if they have to pay them to do so. These two are willing to help them improve their skills anyway special Torry Holt.

    • Blaine Grisak

      Holt an Bruce spend time in camp with them