In this morning's Random Ramsdom post I linked to Vic Carucci's column filed from the St. Louis Rams training camp in which he suggested that you keep an eye on what happens with Cowboys receiver Patrick Crayton as the Rams maintain an interest in adding veteran depth at the position.
One of the most interesting position battles happening of training camp that will stretch into the final weeks of the preseason is at wide receiver. Ten players, mostly with three or fewer years of experience, are jockeying for 5 or 6 spots on the final roster. Competition has been fierce so far with undrafted rookies Brandon McRae and Domonique Curry making the decision that much harder. Against that backdrop you there are two questions that need to be asked in regards to Crayton and the idea of adding veteran depth: Would Patrick Crayton be a fit for the Rams? Crayton or no, what benefit would the Rams get out of a veteran wide receiver on the roster?
It appears to be a logical position on the surface, adding a receiver with six years of experience. Crayton served mostly as a second and third receiver in his time with the Cowboys. Dallas runs a similar offense to what you can expect from the Bradford-led Rams, and Crayton has skills that fit well in that system, i.e. good hands, an ability to pick up yards after the catch and work in the middle of the field…a possession receiver. Another factor that makes him appealing is a pretty good medical record during his time in the league.
Would Crayton be of any benefit to the Rams? For me the issue hinges on duplication. The Rams have some young receivers capable of playing the kind of complementary role that Crayton would play. Keenan Burton and Brandon Gibson both possess very similar skills to Crayton, the difference being their experience and ability to stay healthy. Though not a perfect match, Danny Amendola has been making a strong case as a perfect third receiver to go with Robinson and Avery.
One point that keeps springing to mind, made in the discussion about Chris Ogbonnaya, is that the Rams have some need to develop their young players, guys like Gibson, Burton and Amendola. If you subscribe to that theory, it becomes difficult to advocate for the Rams to add Crayton or any veteran receiver since the Rams already have similar players.
The Rams have a talented group of receivers. Their top three – Robinson, Avery and Amendola – have the potential to give the Rams an effective attack on three receiver sets. Add in to the mix Mardy Gilyard and the Rams have some real talent at the position that should grow and develop alongside Sam Bradford. Depth is a big concern because beyond top three receivers are lots of question marks, and it’s worth remembering that health has been a big concern among most of the Rams top receivers. That alone might convince some to add a veteran like Crayton, who would be a temporary fix at best. It’s something to think about.