Thanks to the Washington Redskins the St. Louis Rams sit in prime position at number two overall to take the best wide receiver in the draft in Sammy Watkins, and if desired, they could even trade back and take the second best wide receiver in the draft in Mike Evans.
Now there is no doubt that the Rams could use a wide receiver. They haven’t had a 1,000 yard receiver, or 700 yard receiver for that matter, since 2007, the year before Torry Holt left the team and what was known as the Greatest Show in Turf era, had finally ended.
With that said however, the Rams don’t need to, and shouldn’t draft a wide receiver in the first round. In the past two drafts the Rams have spent five picks on wide receivers if you include the pick they spent to trade for Brandon Lloyd.
Three of those five picks have been on receivers drafted in the first three rounds in receivers Tavon Austin, Brian Quick, and Stedman Bailey.
That’s half of the Rams receiver corps still in their first three years in the league. The average age of the Rams receiver corps is 24 years old with the oldest receivers being Austin Pettis and Kenny Britt.
The Rams have a lot invested in Quick, Givens, and Austin, and by drafting a Watkins or Evans in the first round the Rams would basically be giving up on Quick or Givens as Evans is physically similar to Quick and Watkins is physically similar to Givens.
Givens and Quick didn’t show a lot last year to make the Rams have any faith in them, but Givens at least showed some flashes in his rookie year and had some success which got to his head.
“Aeneas tried to get me to go to him last offseason but I was so cocky last offseason I don’t even know,” Givens said. “This year I just kind of knew I needed something else and talking to Aeneas, it sounded like I needed Mack(Newton) so I just took him up on his advice.”
In his rookie season Givens had 698 yards, three touchdowns, and really made a name for himself as a deep threat. Last season was different however as Givens only had 569 yards, failed to get into the end zone, and didn’t have a single reception of more than 50 yards.
Givens’ new attitude says it all, and with starting quarterback Sam Bradford coming back, you can only expect good things and the Rams can’t give up on him just yet.
Where things get complicated is with Brian Quick. Coming out of Appalachian State, Quick came out very raw. He has all the potential in the world, but can’t seem to figure it out. Although many have given up on Quick, the Rams should not draft someone in the first round to take his spot on the roster. If the Rams draft Mike Evans, you can almost guarantee the Rams have had enough of Quick and they will either try to move him or cut him.
This will be Quick’s third year, he will either have a break out season or his time in St. Louis will be over. Les Snead has compared Quick to Vincent Jackson. Jackson finally had over 600 yards receiving in his third season and if Quick can’t show some improvement this season then you give up on him, but you can’t give up on a raw prospect after only two years.
Last season Tavon Austin suffered much criticism for “underperforming”. Not only was Austin misused in his rookie season, but a flag was thrown every time Austin did something good. Still, Austin had the second most touchdowns on the team with five.
Pettis has been a threat in the red zone his entire career and has a nose for the chains on third downs, not to mention he is the only receiver Bradford has had his entire career. Stedman Bailey looks to be similar to Pettis in that third down threat type of receiver that can move the chains.
Although fans would like to see Pettis out of St. Louis, he is Bradford’s favorite and most consistent receiver. Not to mention he is the “veteran” of the group.
Drafting a guy like Evans or Watkins in the first round that would come in and start right away only takes snaps away from this young receivers trying to develop. I’m not at all saying the Rams should draft a receiver at all, but to spend yet another first or second round pick on a receiver doesn’t make a lot of sense and only sends the message that you don’t have faith in the guys that you’ve previously drafted.
With the depth at the wide receiver position in the draft, there is no question the Rams can get a receiver that can come in and compete in the mid to late rounds, which right now is all the Rams need.
To expect Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans to come in and have a 1,000 yard season and completely change the Rams offense is ridiculous. The Rams play in the NFC West Division which has five cornerbacks and three safeties that graded inside the top 20 last season on Pro Football Focus.
The Rams receivers are still very young and although their decisions and mistakes can be frustrating at times, it’s just going to take time and a lot of patience for them to figure it out, and another offseason together should help.
This group most likely won’t be the next Greatest Show on Turf, but there is no doubt that they have the potential and ability to get the job done.