Do you remember that jittery, anxious and joyous feeling the night before Christmas when you were younger? The overwhelming glee of unwrapping sleek and shiny new toys? Sam Bradford probably has been feeling this way since the conclusion of the draft as well as free agency.
With the development of Brian Quick and the further progression of the team’s leading receiver Chris Givens, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bradford is still smiling like a Cheshire Cat from the previous draft. Now armed with the Mountaineer Menaces in Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, the Rams’ 25th ranked scoring offense look to crack the top 10.
Am I delusional about that statement? Probably so.
But, St. Louis still have holdovers like Lance Kendricks and Austin Pettis who improved mightily during the season. Isaiah Pead will serve a one suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, but he’ll supplant himself as the Rams’ leading rusher by the end of the season. The only chance that doesn’t happen is if 5th round rookie Zach Stacy showcase the abilities he displayed rushing for back-to-back 1,000 seasons in the SEC.
Even with all the newly acquired draft acquisitions, it’s a free agent acquisition who has the potential to become Bradford’s go-to guy. The 6-foot-5 inch 248 pound Jared Cook, who runs a 4.48, can wreak havoc down the seams if he creates a rapport with Bradford. At Oklahoma, Bradford had the pleasure of throwing to the 6’5″ 260 pound tight end Jermaine Gresham. During the 2007 and 2008 seasons when Bradford was at the helm, Gresham was the second most targeted pass-catcher behind Juaquin Iglesias on the Sooners. Gresham finished with 103 receptions, 1, 468 yards and 25 touchdowns when playing alongside Bradford.
Cook, who’s faster and more athletic, could see himself filling the role of Gresham in St. Louis. Cook never had the talent of a Bradford at quarterback in Tennessee. Vince Young was as much of a head case as an inconsistent passer, Kerry Collins was one hit away from retirement, Matt Hasselback was average at best and Jake Locker was a rookie who showed flashes, but battled injuries in his second year.
Hasselback was the only quarterback to start every game in a single season during Cook’s tenure for the Titans. In 2011, he finished with 82 targets, 49 receptions, 759 yards and 3 touchdowns. All but his touchdowns ware career highs.
As of now, St. Louis does not have a no. 1 receiving threat unless Quick has an unsuspected breakout year, but that’s another story in itself. With a talented group of young but dynamic playmakers on the Rams’ roster, the chemistry of Bradford and Cook provides great promise if the two can gel and form a lethal combination during the offseason.