Looking at the market for free agent wide receivers after franchise tags and contract extensions, the St. Louis Rams cannot expect to find much help, at least not without overpaying. Overpaying for draft picks is no longer a problem thanks to an owner-friendly new CBA, and this is a fairly deep class of wide receivers, even though it does lack for standout prospects like A.J. Green and Julio Jones last year. Two names that should be on your draft radar are Marvin Jones from Cal and Stephen Hill at Georgia Tech.
At least one draft expert thinks both have bright futures in the NFL, with Jones looking to be a more all-around prospects.
Matt Waldman from the Rookie Scouting Portfolio did some in-depth work on both players in a recent series at his site. I highly recommend that you check it out.
Jones burst onto the scene with a big week at the Senior Bowl, where he showed off talents hidden in Cal's limited West Coast offense. Jones showed an ability on deep passes and the propensity to play physical. Here's one outtake from Waldman's write up:
When I watch Jones on tape and in this practice, the potential I see in him is similar to Donald Driver. Not a huge player, but physical, technically sound, quick, good after the catch, and knowledgeable in the West Coast offense.
But Jones is so much more than that, according to Waldman. He can pull off the vertical routes well as well as making a living on the kind of catches in the traffic-clogged areas of the field that Anquan Boldin does.
Stephen Hill, who has his pro day workout on Tuesday, is more potential at this stage of his career, with a learning curve for the NFL. What he does well right now are those go routes in Georgia Tech's option offense.
More from Waldman in a post breaking down Hill's strengths:
Although I like Marvin Jones more than Stephen Hill, they are two different styles of receiver. Hill is a pure X receiver. Jones is probably a more natural Z receiver capable of holding his own as an X. Unlike Jones, Hill will probably be able to add more muscle to his frame and retain his speed. Combine that potential strength-speed-agility combo with skill at catching the football and its obvious why teams in need of a big-play receiver will covet the potential of Stephen Hill.
Hill could play his way into the first round with a big pro day, one where he shows teams that he has enough command of the route tree and the hands to have such a high ceiling in the NFL.
Jones is a second-round pick, and one that could help the Rams in way the previous regime probably imagined Austin Pettis.