For as poorly as Rams receivers played in Seattle, the group as a whole looks really good heading into next year. I don't think we really need to draft anybody in April. Although I really like Mardy Gilyard and Laurent Robinson and think they are good people who deserve a shot at the NFL, they are probably gone next year. Gilyard failed to show any of the explosiveness that he had in college, and Robinson has consistently dropped balls and failed to get any separation in man coverage. That leaves us with Donnie Avery, Danario Alexander, Danny Amendola, and Brandon Gibson. Also, I would expect Devaney to resign Mark Clayton.
I would assume that everybody here on this website agrees that Avery, Clayton, and Amendola all have proven they can be good players in the NFL. They get free passes to the next season.
I also assume that we all think Robinson and Gilyard deserve to go.
Now, there are a lot of people that think that neither Gibson nor Alexander are good enough to play for the Rams. I disagree. Brandon Gibson ended the season with 620 yards on 53 receptions. That's good for 11.8 yards per catch on average. He showed that he can be a productive receiver who can move the chains. The only problem with him is that he has a lot of drops this season. That can be fixed. He also did a really good job of holding onto the ball. While he fumbled twice in 2009, he didn't put the ball on the turf once in 2010. Overall, he showed flashes of brilliance despite inconsistency this season. It's easy to see him emerging as a very nice receiver for the Rams.
Alexander is a similar case. He's a freak of nature who showed a lot of greatness this season. His diving touchdown catch against San Diego was one of the best moments of the year for the Rams, and he also showed that his 72-yard outing was no fluke with two more great games against Denver and San Francisco where he gained 95 and 99 yards respectively. He went quiet during games @Tampa Bay, @Arizona, and @New Orleans, and he had an awful performance against Seattle. However, there is no doubt that he has the potential to be a star in this league. The Rams would be stupid to let him go. He only spent 7 games on the active roster and didn't arrive with the team at all until the end of the preseason. I'm confident that after a full preseason and a full season with the Rams, he'll be one of our top targets. Injuries are a legitimate concern, but you shouldn't kick him to the curb because he's had troubles in the past. You shouldn't drop a guy because you worry that he might hurt himself in the future despite limitless potential. I don't see how you can watch this guy play and not say, "Wow, this guy is going to be really awesome someday."
Avery, Clayton, Amendola, Alexander, and Gibson in the regular rotation sounds really good to me. Avery is the speedy deep threat, Amendola is the slot guy, Clayton is the #1 who Bradford turns to when a play needs to be made, Gibson is the guy who can make plays to keep the chains moving, and Alexander is the huge deep threat who poses a match-up problem for defense. I am completely happy with that.
What would Justin Blackmon help us accomplish? We already have guys who can stretch the field vertically. Does he really do a good job on shorter routes that gain first downs? His production in college was very similar to Danario Alexander's, but Alexander did his work with long bombs as well as yards after the catch on short routes. I haven't gotten to see too much of Blackmon, but it seems to me that most of his yards came on lofty bombs. How would he do in our offense that requires a lot of crossing routes? Will he even be available at the 14th spot in the draft? I prefer the potential that Alexander and Gibson have shown in the NFL as opposed to what Justin Blackmon has shown in the college ranks.