In a year where it has become painfully obvious that the St. Louis Rams are in dire need of a wide receiver, this is starting to shape into an NFL Draft that has become painfully weak at the position. As the college season was coming to a close we were collectively licking our chops hoping we could get our hands on an AJ Green, Julio Jones, Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Ryan Broyles, Jonathon Baldwin or Leonard Hankerson. Now that the deadline to commit to the NFL Draft has come and gone, a lot of talented players have decided to go back to school. Among those players are Justin Blackmon (Ok. State), Michael Floyd (Notre Dame), Ryan Broyles (Oklahoma), Devier Posey (Ohio St.), Juron Criner (Arizona), T.Y. Hilton (Florida Intl.), Martin McNutt (Iowa) and Jeff Fuller (Texas A&M).
Among the players who decided to early out from college to enter the draft are AJ Green (Georgia), Julio Jones (Alabama), Jonathon Baldwin (Pitt.), Tandon Doss (Indiana), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Torrey Smith (Maryland), Tori Gurley (South Carolina) and DeAndre Brown (Souther Miss). It just makes you wonder what this reciever draft class would look like if none of these players decided to leave early!
My concern is about the receivers that are left on the Rams War Room Draft board to choose from. A.J. Green will undoubtedly be gone before the 14th pick in the draft comes up. There is a very remote chance that Julio Jones will be there. I don't believe that reaching for Baldwin in the first round can be an option. We will have to wait until the second round to see who is available.
Even if we were to draft a reciever, he would have to learn the playbook, find his niche and POSSIBLY take a couple of years before he starts contributing. It just makes me wonder if we should use our picks this year to bolster our offensive line and our defensive front seven. I am starting to warm up to the idea of drafting either Mike Pouncey (OG) or Ryan Kerrigan (DE) with the 14th pick an outside linebacker like Bruce Carter or Mason Foster in the second round and a running back like DeMarco Murray or Shane Vereen in the 3rd round.
Instead of paying a boatload of money for Vincent Jackson or Sidney Rice, maybe we could trade a later round draft pick for Steve Smith of the Panthers. His house is up for sale and he would like to be traded to a contender. I'm not saying the Rams are a contender right now but with a solid draft and a veteran signing or two (Chad Greenway?), we could be in the mix.
With Steve Smith as our #1, Mark Clayton as our #2 and Amendola as our slot guy we would have a good core to our receiving unit. Donnie Avery, Danario Alexander and either Brandon Gibson or Mardy Gilyard providing relief would be solid. I figure Smith would be good for at least 2 or 3 more years and then we could turn towards next years draft when Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Ryan Broyles and maybe Alshon Jefferies would be available.
Another take on spending big money on recievers: Did you see those dropped passes by Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houzhmenzadeh when the Ravens lost to the Steelers. Reminded me of that last game against the Seahawks. It seems like regardless of whether your pass catchers are seasoned veterans or up and coming rookies, the dropsies can happen anytime.