Ramses Barden is no Drew Bennett, and that's just fine.

The Rams need a WR. More specifically, they need a receiver that can complement Donnie Avery's speed and ability to stretch the field. The conventional wisdom says they need a "true #1" receiver, but I think with the right player they can build a group of WRs that flow well together and fit into new OC Pat Shurmur's West Coast style offense that gives WRs some more range and less headache with what's happening on the line. The #1 WR emerges because, inevitably, one guy will get more catches than the rest.

What's not often said about the Rams need at WR is the team's current lack of physicality, not just a guy who can wrestle for jump balls, but a guy who can block too. You may have forgotten that WRs are sometimes expected to block too. You may be forgiven for this error by being a fan of the Rams and the Mike Martz offense which rarely asked such mundane tasks from the receivers. Where can the Rams find such a player, you ask?

One player that might fit that niche is Cal Poly WR Ramses Barden. Tagged with the small school label, Barden's 6'6" height stands above the negative connotations usually associated with players from Division I-AA. He's the most physical of the WRs in the draft, and can be a real asset in the run game. Think of him brushing aside safeties as Seven Jackson breaks off a long run.  His size combines with a good vertical leap to make his a great getting the jump balls and the ability to muscle through defensive backs, who he's not great at merely outrunning, a la Avery. Those skills helped him dominate at the AA level, so much so that one criticism is his consistency, likely resulting in part from being on a different level than his competitors. 

Back to the speed thing. At his school's pro day on Friday, he ran the 40 in 4.51 seconds, slightly improving on his 4.57 from the Combine, a number that got him noticed. Some feel that his speed will keep him from getting any distance between jet-fueled NFL cornerbacks, hurting his draft standing. That point aside, Barden would be a great guy to move the chains and a real red zone threat, the kind of red zone threat the Rams desperately need. Remember when Drew Bennett was supposed to be that guy? Yeah...changing directions and all that. 

His route running is a little raw too, but with good coaching, the kind of coaching that can really get a guy motivated, like, say, Steve Spagnuolo, that can be improved. The beauty of Barden's draft prospects is that he could easily be a third round pick, which would be perfect for the Rams and give them a low-risk player should he take time to develop.

Oh, and that name? How great would that be for the Rams to have Ramses Barden?

Keep you eye on this guy.

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