What the 2011 NFL Draft lacks in sure-fire first round wide receivers, it more than makes up for with potential mid-round sleepers. Teams and draftniks are chasing the next Mike Williams, Tampa Bay's 4th round sleeper that made a good case for Offensive Rookie of the Year last year. Sports writing loves cliche, and you won't find one more popular than "the next Mike Williams" right now. Who are we to buck a trend?
Over in Mock Three, there are several of those "next Mike Williams" types still on the board as the fourth round drags on. (Boise State S Jeron Johnson was the St. Louis Rams' 4th round pick, btw). That seems like as good a starting point as any to take a look at a handful of those sleeper wide receivers who could meet a big need for the St. Louis Rams.
Austin Pettis, Boise State
He's a big guy with good hands that runs routes very well. He would make a nice red zone target for Sam Bradford. The question the Rams would have to ask is whether or not he has enough speed and ability to expand the field...or possibly allow Donnie Avery to do that.
Vincent Brown, San Diego State
I promise these won't all be Mountain West guys. I like Brown because paired with Donnie Avery he would give the Rams two guys that are threats because of their speed. He's not a pure burner, but a guy who can separate himself from DBs. Two speedsters in a four receiver set...not bad in my opinion.
DeAndre Brown, Southern Mississippi
He has size, separation ability and runs a great vertical route...he's also raw and has character questions. Probably not a big rookie contributor, but could be a real key piece of the offense.
Cecil Shourts, Mount Union
An amazing athlete, but faces a big learning curve in the NFL. He's kind of a poor man's Randall Cobb. If Avery still has his speed, this is another WR that would be a nice downfield pairing that would really make the Rams passing attack a multi-dimensional arsenal.