Thearon W. Henderson
Despite an improved position group, the Rams could still be looking for blue chip talent at the receiver position.
The St. Louis Rams are pretty much set at wide receiver, right? That's kind of been the party line and the prevailing wisdom when it comes to building the roster for 2013. Youngsters Brian Quick and Chris Givens are expected to blossom. Danny Amendola likely returns, and some combination of a re-signed Brandon Gibson and Austin Pettis rounds out the supporting cast.
Maybe not, though. At least one source close to the team told Pro Football Weekly that the Rams were still looking for playmaking wide receivers.
"It's right up there. You've got to score points, and they still really need another playmaker, even if Amendola (one of 13 pending unrestricted free agents) comes back. If neither he nor (UFA) Gibson, who had a career year, don't re-sign, then you're suddenly down to three guys - Givens, (second-round rookie Brian) Quick and (second-year pro Austin) Pettis."
Wide receiver has been one of the team's biggest needs for years now, before drafting quarterback Sam Bradford in 2010 even.
Danny Amendola was on the way to top receiver numbers before being hit with injuries that forced him to miss a significant portion of the season, just a year after he spent the season on IR. That, the report's source says, is giving the Rams pause in inking a long-term deal with Amendola.
Chris Givens has the potential to be a major contributor, and the jury's still out on Brian Quick. The team has been adamant in public that Quick would be the top receiver, in due time. But the PFW report makes a lot of sense when you consider that the Rams offense struggled for points, consistent scoring, all season long.
The Bradford debate is a contentious one, and a central piece of the argument is always about the quality of receivers he has to work with. Yet, you don't hear the clamor anymore for the Rams to find top-tier talent at the position. Odd how that works, no?
The free agent receiver pool will shrink as we get closer to March 12. Teams will hand out franchise tags or long-term contracts keeping some of the bigger names off the market. The Rams don't have a lot of money to spend on premium free agents anyway, especially at wide receiver where the costs are elevated. That leaves the draft.
Could a player like Kennan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins, etc. get a look in the first round? The key question here is how much more ready one of those players would be over Brian Quick. Given the cost of receivers, the Rams would be wise to stock up at the position via the draft, adding depth or turning Quick into depth as he learns the system and the pro game.
One thing's for certain, an offense that averaged less than 20 points per game in 2012 is in clear need of some work.