When talking to Rams fans about team needs, many will have different responses to what they perceive to be the greatest need. However, a common trend in all responses will include Wide Receiver. It's no mystery that a franchise QB needs weapons to throw to if he is going to have any success. Something the Rams have clearly lacked.
With Brandon Lloyd signing with the Patriots, we lose our most reliable target from last year...for what that is worth. A week into Free Agency the "top tier" wideouts have all pretty much found new destinations, not called St. Louis, for the 2012 season. Unfortunately, that need the Rams have, is still glaring all of us in the face. The same question rounds back to "What should the Rams do to fill this vacancy at WR?" Do we look for a trade, as Fisher has alluded to earlier in the week as a possible solution? Do we wait till the draft to find the target Bradford needs? Or do we look to the "second tier" of available WR's to fill the need as a stop gap. I have to go with the latter.
We don't know how the first 5 picks will end up...well at least 3-5. I am thinking that Holmgren will flip us the proverbial bird, and draft Blackmon. They need offensive weapons in the worst way and to have the best WR on the board will help in solving that. Not to mention, it would feel nice to get a jab in with the team that might have slighted you during the Robert Griffin III sweepstakes. With that said, there are still plenty of options throughout the draft and we may/should find a few. I am just not ready to throw my hat on that as our only plan of action.
When looking for a stop gap WR, I would want a few items to be in place to better the chances of success. 1) The receiver to have a familiarity with the offensive coordinator. And the offensive coordinator have a familiarity with his new WR (know how to use the new piece). 2) Have a familiarity with the playbook and the verbiage used in the system. 3) Offer a specialty that we have been missing.
You may have seen these names run through the site occasionally, so here are the options that fit the criteria above:
At 6'3", he presents all the physical tools one would look for in a WR. He is big, strong, and fast. He uses his body well when going against smaller DB's. His hands have been questioned at times (Just ask Derek Anderson about that)...dropsies. Offers a nice target in the red zone. However, his mental makeup may leave some people scratching their head and saying "what the hell was he thinking?" Nonetheless, he is a pro-bowl WR still available in FA. He also has a familiarity with Schotty's offensive system. Just two years ago, he had 53 receptions, 904 yards and 7 TD's in that system. Not bad for a run-first offensive scheme. He will be 29 this year, and with not a whole lot action in 2011, he presents a solid option, assuming that he is healthy.
Plaxico will draw all kinds of question and opinions when asked about...like "Who goes to jail for shooting themselves in the leg?" The fact is, the guy can still play, as was proven last year with the Jets. Even after two years in jail he returns to make one hell of a comeback, catching 45 balls for 612 yards and 8 TD's. He has the familiarity in Schotty's offensive scheme. He is an incredibly effective target in the red zone. At 6'5" he is a constant mismatch for DB's. He is also great at moving the chains on third down. He has reliable hands (something that seemed to be missing in Rams park the last few years). However, his age, past, and the public perception may be held against him.
Another ex-Jet with familiarity to Schotty's offensive system. Cotchery may be the less popular name of the three options presented, but I really like this guy. Between 2006-2009 he average 942 yards a season...not a bad 4 year stretch. He has some experience on special teams as a return man. At 6'1" he is a solid option running all types of routes. He is not afraid to run routes down the middle of the field or catch in traffic. He is a "Steady Eddy" of sorts, not missing very much time throughout his career.
I'm not the biggest fan of the Jets, but all three of these ex-Jets offer us something that will be important this offseason- a shorter learning curve. With a new coaching staff, it would be nice to bring in a player that has familiarity to the offense to help his peers better adapt to the new system. We really need help in the red zone, and two of the three options can offer us that. Not the most ideal solutions, but an adequate 1-2 year answer with limited commitment. That's my two cents...