What Does the Future Hold for Rams WR Stedman Bailey?

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Dec 21, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey (12) warms up before the game between the St. Louis Rams and the New York Giants at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Good (Future)

In the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams selected the explosive wide receiver Tavon Austin out of West Virginia. In order to complement Austin, Les Snead and Jeff Fisher decided to draft his lesser-known teammate Stedman Bailey.

Fundamentally, Bailey is the most talented receiver in an otherwise underachieving receiver corps. However, he only has 59 receptions for 843 yards and 2 touchdowns in his three year career due to a lack of offensive playing time. Bailey possesses the most reliable hands and the best route running ability on the team. Considering the numerous dropped passes and overall lack of production by position, the Rams should’ve started him while he was still on the active roster. Unfortunately, it looks like the team won’t get a chance to do so this season.

But let’s assume that Stedman Bailey comes back for the 2016 season. There are few people in this world that work as hard as Bailey; just check out his Instagram profile. If anyone has the ambition and determination to come back strong from a shooting, it’s Stedman Bailey.

Sep 13, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey (12) catches a pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Unless potential stars Kenny Britt and Brian Quick break out before the end of the current season, Bailey should be able to claim one of the starting spots on the depth chart with Tavon Austin handling slot receiver duties. Even though he is significantly shorter than Britt and Quick standing at 5’10 and weighing less than 200 pounds, Bailey plays like a much bigger receiver with jumping ability and aggressiveness on contested throws.  He isn’t the fastest receiver in the league, but he is able to consistently gain ample separation from defensive backs with deceptive speed and quickness.

Fans tend to forget just how productive of a player Stedman Bailey was as a West Virginia Mountaineer. He was a Biletnikoff finalist in his junior season before declaring for the NFL Draft, racking up 1,622 receiving yards for a staggering 25 touchdowns. He won’t put up Antonio Brown statistics next year, but he’s what the Rams would have to go with if he’s back and healthy next season.

Whether it’s Foles, Keenum, Mannion, or someone out of the 2016 draft class, Stedman Bailey would provide the quarterback with a reliable target that the St. Louis Rams desperately need. The team hasn’t had a wide receiver that has produced over 1,000 receiving yards since Torry Holt.

Stedman Bailey might be that 1,000-yard wide receiver; just give him a chance.

Next: The Bad