By Tyler Lurkins.
For the second year in a row, almost every mock drafter predicts a receiver for the Rams in the top 15 picks. Where is the logic in this?
First, the Rams ARE absolutely weak at receiver. Will any scout compare the receivers in this draft to Moss, Green, Johnson, or even Blackmon? The simple answer is absolutely not. Woods is a productive route runner, but will the Rams do with another 6’ sub 200 lb. receiver? Amendola is a producer in the slot. Steve Smith is not getting the looks on the outside, but that is because he too is a slot receiver. Allen, Patterson, Williams, and Hunter are exactly what the Rams need. However, Hunter has injury concerns, and the rest of the bunch are not elite route runners. Allen is a decent route runner, an excellent pass catcher, but may lack the separation a receiver needs in the big leagues. Why frustrate a developing Brian Quick with a choice of a receiver that also needs work. Would anyone give up Demaryius Thomas? Not so much. Study the development and stature of Thomas, then compare it to Quick. Remember Kenny Britt? Tennessee found Britt in the bottom of the first round. The team, coached by Jeff Fisher, developed him. Britt is not star, but is a talent no one gives up on.
That brings up the next point. This franchise pledged to draft and develop players. Judging by the stubbornness of the entire organization, they plan to stick with that philosophy. The Rams start Brandon Gibson. Gibson finds ways to get open. He is fairly explosive. Yet, has anyone seen him make the big play? Would anyone who witnesses a Rams game pull Gibson and give Quick a look? You bet they would! But the coaching staff is protecting Quick. Why frustrate a rookie? This staff is developing Quick’s confidence as player. He gets the reps in practice as he continually increases his route running ability and familiarity with the offense. Mid round pick Chris Givens continues to get reps in games. Though he has not produced, he is the burner. His only job is to smoke down the field for the deep route. The future is Quick as the #1 receiver, Givens on the outside, and Amendola in the slot. This defines the Rams needs for a big bodied possession receiver and a reliable tight end.
Case in point, maybe the Rams hoped for Blackmon. Blackmon was a legit top five pick. Although no one can be 100% sure the Rams will not take a receiver, it’s unlikely the will in the top 20 picks. If they wanted Blackmon bad enough, they would not have traded down. This team predicates the offense on running to set up the pass. Last year they nabbed Pead and Richardson to compliment Steven Jackson. If anything, the Rams will look to improve the O line. Saffold is the left tackle of the future for this team. Right tackle is definitely a position of need, as is left guard. Is a receiver any bigger of a need than free safety or a flashy outside linebacker? With the top flight talent at safety, linebacker, and tackle in the first round, expect the Rams to pass on receiver unless they can trade back for more picks.