The Curious Case of Donnie Avery

[Note by VanRam, 05/04/11 10:17 PM EDT ] Diggin' it, so I'm bumpin' it. Killer fan posts lately...the draft really inspires, huh?

After reading 3k’s post on the draft and the direction of the team, I decided to do some analysis of what a Rams receiver looks like today. I was actually surprised that the direction of bigger receivers started before Josh McDaniels even set foot in Ram’s Park. I’ve broken down the size and weight of all the active wide receivers on the Rams, how many games they’ve played and when they joined the team. I’ve purposely left off statistics. They are meaningless in gauging the direction of the offense, and for players like Donnie Avery, who is on his third offense; they do not reflect future production.

The Rams have an astonishing 13 receivers on the roster.  This was astonishing only because we finished the season with only 5 active receivers. As many are speculating who will be left out in the cold, most keep Donnie Avery firmly on the “in” camp. The prevailing logic says he is the only burner we have. I’ve created a chart after the break.

I believe that by September, Donnie Avery will not be a Ram.

Height Weight Games Played (For STL) Joined Team Current Status
Donnie Avery 5'11" 183 31 2008      IR
Danny Amendola 5'11" 186 30 2009      Active
Brandon Gibson 6'0" 210 23 2009      Active
Laurent Robinson 6'2' 197 17 2009      Active (RFA)
Danario Alexander 6'5" 215 8 2010      Active
Mardy Gilyard 5'11" 194 11 2010      Active
Joe West 6'1" 208 0 2010      PS
Greg Mathews 6'3" 209 0  2010      PS
Mark Clayton 5'10" 190 5 2010      IR
Dominique Curry 6'2" 224 3 2010      IR
Brandon McRae 6'3" 208 0 2010      IR
Greg Salas 6'1" 210 0 2011      Active
Austin Pettis 6'2" 209 0 2011      Active

The first thing that jumped out at me is that the Rams added seven receivers in 2010. This was due to unfortunate injuries that decimated our wide receiver corp. Ignoring the practice squad bodies, the Rams added more receivers in 2010 as there were on the team prior to that. The second thing that jumped out, but didn’t surprise at all, is that the Rams don’t have a receiver on the roster that has been with the team longer than 3 years.

Donnie Avery has the most tenure with the Rams, but has barely started in more games that Danny Amendola. He is also the lightest of all receivers measuring at 183 pounds. This was his game weight last year after he reportedly bulked up to protect his knee.  His games played rate is 64.5%, and this is high given he was on the roster for many games injured in 2009. Compare that to Danny Amendola’s 100%. This comparison is important for two reasons. Danny is a lock to make the team and Danny measures approximately the same size. Danny’s consistency, tenacity, and ability to play through are all traditional football characteristics.

In comparison to the last receivers the Rams have looked at Donnie is greatly undersized. The last 4 receivers the Rams have added all measure over 6 foot. The bigger receiver trend started with D Ax and continued to drive strategy with late practice squad acquisitions Joe West and Greg Mathews. It’s not uncommon to diverse size and speed, many people point to this reason why the Rams will keep Avery. Devaney said that he doesn’t want a bunch of track stars that can’t catch the ball. This includes Donnie Avery who can’t catch a ball if he isn’t on the field.

Finally, people point to his second round pick status, and that he was a part of the first draft that Billy D was GM for. Devaney has shown that he’s not afraid to jettison high round picks, even his own. He’s building a winning football team, and to do that, you can’t let emotions run the business.

Avery may get a shot in camp. My guess is STL will try to move him for a late round pick before he suffers another injury. Teams will take a chance because of his experience over getting a UDFA that has no real game experience.  If no trades are to be had, I believe that he will be cut loose.

 As an extra nugget, these are the receivers I feel will make the team. The first assumption I will make is that the 53-man roster will have 6 wide receivers. Running the spread offense McDaniels like will need bodies. I also assumed that the two rookies will earn their roster spot, a la Mardy Gilyard last year. I will not predict practice squad players.

Mark Clayton
Danny Amendola
Greg Salas
Austin Pettis
Danario Alexander
Brandon Gibson

*** Updated to include Dominque Curry and fix chart formatting ***

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