It's no secret, our receiving corp is a mess. Not so much for the talent, because I believe it's there, but more so the depth chart. I just started a new franchise in madden 11, and I started setting the depth chart, and the problems were immediately evident. Yes I'm basing this on Madden but it gave me a good visual. Next year, it'll be interesting to see where all these potential players will be placed and for now I'm going to look at it from a few scenarios. We all know Robinson is gone so I'll avoid his name as much as possible, and in each scenario we're going to go with 6 WR's on the roster just to make this a bit more clear. Also, we're gonna assume here that Clayton isn't going to be a Free Agent next year (even though he is), and is already on the roster and for certain scenarios, will always beat out Avery for the outside position
Keeping all WO's and not drafting a WR or picking one up in FA
That will leave us with Donnie Avery, Mark Clayton, Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson, Danario Alexander, and Mardy Gilyard. So I'm looking at it this way. Put Clayton as the #1 WR, Avery/Alexander as the #2 (one of the issues) Danny Amendola as the slot, Gibson as the #4/5 preferably 4, and Avery/Alexander as the #4/5. Leaving Gilyard on the practice squad. I think Clayton and Amendola are at their best spots at each of their respective places. The issue here is Gibson, Alexander, and Avery. Simply put, Alexander can't be in the inside. I can only picture him as being on the outside and I think he's better off there as well. Gibson can alternate at 4 and 5 so that really isn't a problem, but should we really put Avery at the #4 or 5 spot? Or should we put him on the outside and put Alexander as the #4 or #5? I'm not really sure how it would work and it's not looking good at all. With McDaniels coming in I'm immediately seeing similarities between Brandon Lloyd in Denver and Donnie Avery. Lloyd is on the outside mind you. So assuming Avery goes on the outside, we put Alexander on the inside, or even swap him for Gilyard. It's just bad.
Drafting 1 WR or picking up a Veteran #1 WR and foregoing picking up a player in the draft
By picking up 1 WR, we immediately would have to get rid of at least 1 WR. I think it's safe to say that again Clayton and Amendola will be safe. Donnie Avery will probably be safe as well, leaving Gilyard, Alexander, and Gibson. Out of those 3 Gibson is looking like the odd man out, at least to me. Gilyard just got here and has value on special teams so I know they don't want to get rid of him. Alexander has flashed more, but again that brings back the point. Do we really want him on the inside? If so, Gibson is out and Alexander stays. If not, Alexander is gone and Gibson stays who's more suited in my opinion to play inside. Now another twist in this is if we go draft or free agency here. First, let's assume we get Julio Jones. We'll have Clayton as the #1, Avery/Alexander/Jones as the #2, Danny Amendola in the slot, Avery/Alexander/Gibson/Gilyard/Jones as the #4, and Alexander/Gibson/Gilyard/Jones as the #5. What I know about Jones so far is that he has inconsistent hands, and is basically a skinnier version of Alexander. Which again brings up the question. Is he best suited playing on the inside? Jones is just too big to play the slot in my opinion. So with this, we'd have 3 WR's that are better off on the outside. Donnie Avery Danario Alexander, and Julio Jones. There's only 2 spots out there so who's the odd man out? Will that person who's out be replaced by Gilyard because of effectiveness on the inside? Gibson even? There's a lot of questions there.
Now say we go free agency. That will leave us with our FA pickup as the #1, Clayton as the #2, Amendola at the slot, Avery/Alexander/Gibson/Gilyard as the #4, and the same for the #5 position. I think it's safe to say that Avery would beat out the others for that #4 spot, but again, do we really want him on the inside and one of our top WR this far down the depth chart? I think he can do it, but he's like Lloyd to me and should be on the outside. Then we have Gibson/Alexander/Gilyard for that final 5th spot. Alexander simply WON'T be successful here, and if it comes down to this he won't have that spot. Gibson is simply better than Gilyard so I think he'll have this spot. That leaves Gilyard and Alexander for a possible cut. Alexander has flashed more upside, but is inconsistent and we don't know how his knee will hold up. Gilyard also has been hurt some, but can play on the inside AND has more special teams value which means Alexander would likely be cut in this scenario.
Picking up a #1 FA WR AND drafting a WR (Julio Jones)
This is just awful. I don't see anyway that this would work, but I'll try and make some sense out of it. So we'll have to cut TWO wide receivers in this case. Again, Amendola is probably safe here, and our Draft pick and FA pickup will also be safe. Leaving two of these players for the slicing, Avery, Alexander, Clayton , Gibson, and Gilyard. Clayton is simply the best out of these guys, and can play any spot on offense so he'll likely stay as the #2. Gilyard is the best special teams player out of Avery, Alexander, and Gibson, plus he's probably the best between the numbers so let's assume he stays as well. That leaves 1 roster spot for Avery, Alexander, or Gibson. Gibson has avoided injury and is best suited out of this group to play on the inside. Problem is, he's showed the least upside out of the group. Alexander CAN'T play on the inside at all, no one can convince me otherwise but he probably has the greatest potential out of this group. Not to mention his sausage knee either. Avery has the most experience, and MAY be able to play on the inside, but he also has injury concerns as well. I really can't choose out of these 3, but looking at it from McDaniels perspective, I'd probably say Avery would be staying. I'm not even going to try and get into the depth chart here.
Well that's about it, I just wanted to write this all out just so I can really breakdown this whole situation. I know this probably won't make sense the whole time, but it's just a quick overview of this upcoming mess coming. There's a lot of issues here, and every single one of these scenarios can really blow up in our face. We're probably better off dropping Gilyard, Gibson, and Alexander and picking up some slot guys. I just really would rather avoid that.