EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: Greg Salas #87 of the St. Louis Rams runs for yards after the catch against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 19, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Outside of Brandon Lloyd, the St. Louis Rams got little production out of their wide receivers last year. That is in spite of selecting two pass-catchers in consecutive rounds (rounds three and four). Those receivers picked were Boise State's Austin Pettis and Hawaii's Greg Salas.
After Sam Bradford's on-the-field main squeeze – Danny Amendola – went down, Salas rose to the occasion and became a viable option in the passing game. That is, until he broke his leg and was lost for the year – just like many others on the team.
Can Salas bounce back and progress as a pass catcher?
His rookie numbers – while limited due to the foot injury – were exceptional. In the six games Salas appeared in, he caught 27 passes for 264 yards. The Hawaii-product also had a catch rate of 77.1% with four dropped passes, according to Pro Football Focus.
Though these numbers aren't eye-popping, A break down shows improvement.
In the first two games of 2011, Salas caught a combined five catches (one in Week One, four in Week Two) for 48 yards. He also dropped three catches in those two weeks alone. Fast forward to Week Six at Green Bay; Salas caught a season-high eight passes for 77 yards. He was thrown to nine times that game, but dropped one catch. He played in 73.4% of the offensive snaps. This game proved to be Salas' best.
Greg continued to progress in this manner until Week 9 at Arizona where he broke his foot. Even in this game, Salas had seven catches for 59 yards.
Another tidbit that is interesting is Salas' ability to gain yards after the catch. 230 of his 264 yards were gained after the catch. His 8.5 YAC per reception rated highest on the team (Danario Alexander was the closest with 5.4).
A jump in the Salas' numbers this upcoming season can provide the Rams a viable option to move the chains on offense. His ability to pile on yards after making the catch also give the Rams a much needed asset.
His main hurdle to seeing the field this season is the receivers added during the offseason, both via free agency and the draft. Former Giant, Steve Smith plays in the same mold as Salas and can take his spot.
Rookies Brian Quick and Chris Givens have different styles that complement Salas, but can also take away snaps. Quick has been compared to T.O. (game-wise, not attitude-wise) and Givens is the burner.
A healthy Amendola – who Greg replaced last year – can also be a threat to Salas' progression.
Salas has stood out in this offseason's mini camps and has even seen time with the first unit, but we will have to wait and see how things shake out during training camp and the preseason.