We've spared no amount of digital ink on a discussion of the St. Louis Rams and Julio Jones on these pages. Why? It's pretty simple: the Rams need a reliable receiver. In a Monday post reacting to Jones' brilliant performance at the Combine, I noted one source who told me in Indy just how badly the Rams needed a receiver, despite the protestations that they expect big things from a healthy combo of Donnie Avery and Danario Alexander.
However, since Jones' red hot draft stock, fractured foot and all, makes it less and less likely that he'll be there, it's time to get to know some backup plans in the draft. One player whose forty time is getting him some hype this week if Fort Valley State WR Ricardo Lockette.
"I verbally committed and signed a letter of intent to Auburn University," explained Lockette. "When it didn't work out, I ended up going to Fort Valley State and becoming a (NCAA Division II) national champion in the 200 meters. I was a three-time all-American in track. I had a pretty good run in football. It landed me here. I hope to run the best 40 (yard dash) here. I look forward to breaking Chris Johnson's record here this year."
His 4.37 was the fastest of any receiver at the Combine. But you'd expect that from a track star. It still wasn't as fast as predicted...none of them were.
Gil Brandt hyped Lockette earlier this week, comparing him to Austin Collie. The receiver's speed and explosiveness stood out to Brandt who alluded that with those natural skills he could be work to overcome the inconsistency with his hands.
Noted small school prospect guru Josh Buchanan cautioned his readers from buying too much of the hype. Buchanan reminded prospect watchers that Lockette was third in receptions in college, on a team led by a tight end who ran a 4.9 forty. Maybe it was the offensive system, who knows.
It is a good reminder of why Jones is so sought after in this year's draft. Receivers are enough of a crap shoot, even the top guys.