What I say goes. - Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
I can't believe they finally let me have a weekly column. The best part is I didn't even have to pay to write it this time! Thanks Ryan!
Oh, that’s quite a catchy title. As any of my college friends would tell you, I’m not the best philosophizer (which is an honest-to-god real word, so says spellcheck). When I had to take philosophy (four freaking times, about four times more than any college student wants to), my studying usually consisted of spark notes and Wikipedia.
That, and my usually-high level of bullshit and 'effort' on my papers normally helped me get a B in every class abbreviated with PHIL, which was perfect considering I couldn’t give a flying…well, you know.
This method that I honed over college was perfect when it came to anything I wrote about the NFL Draft in the past. Unlike 3k (no disrespect; the man is a draft God), I never would catch the thrilling battle between Alabama Christian Junior Community College and Northeast Philadelphia University of Southwestern Philadelphia (watch those be two real schools), so after about the second round, I’d normally be completely lost.
Even if I didn’t know the prospects, I was still quite confident in anyone I wanted the Rams to draft. Read: Armchair GM.Sure, they didn’t all pan out; Alex Barron instead of Jamaal Brown? Oh, we are so going to the Super Bowl this year.
But 2013 is different. Unlike the past, where clapping, effort and veteran players giving it once last hurrah gave us a respectable record at the end of the year, the Rams actually did shit on the field this season. I don’t think everyone fully realizes how important that is for the future of this team.
It’s even better when you realize the Rams have two first round picks. Five years ago, it would’ve been a smart idea to trade picks away for players, because hey, Joe Klopfenstein. But not anymore.
Which brings me to the point I’ve been leading up to this whole time: the Rams must draft one of the top receivers on their board.
This isn’t some technobabble about how second round QB’s are worse than first rounders (BUT SKIP BAYLESS SAYS SO). The Rams need to look at who they think is the best receiving option in the draft, and draft him. It’s that simple.
If not from a talent standpoint, from a roster standpoint. The Rams are likely to lose Danny Amendola to free agency and as much as I think the guy is awesome, I’m ready to accept the fact that we are losing an incredible player Billy Devaney found off the practice squad of the Eagles (but he only hit on first and second rounders!).
Then factor in the free-agent-ness of Brandon Gibson, everyone’s favorite underachiever. That leaves four receivers on the roster (including Steve Smith, who I will no longer talk about out of respect for the Rams organization). *Also note Titus Young, that new guy who is apparently already in the Hall of Fame. Austin Pettis is a good red-zone threat and a nice occasional player, and Chris Givens has plenty of speed and talent to be a starter. Finally, there is Brian Quick. I don’t want anyone to think I’m giving up on the guy, but when you have less receptions than Antonio Cromartie has kids, you aren’t making a big enough impact.
And that’s what matters the most. Impact. The Rams don’t have enough of it at the receiver position to make a difference, game-in-game out. Look at the top two performers who aren’t FA’s:
- Chris Givens had had seven games where he had less than forty yards. Three of those were in the final month of the season.
- Lance Kendricks has improved vastly from a year ago, but calling him an elite pass-catching tight end isn’t something anyone has done since the 2011 Preseason.
Of course, people expect Sam Bradford to make some monumental leap into Peyton Manning territory by simply adding a pair of day three receivers and Chance Warmack. Give me a break!
Everyone knows I think Cordarrelle Paterson would look great in blue and gold. Keenan Allen? Robert Woods? Tavon Austin? Justin Hunter? Yes, yes, yes and yes. The Rams need help on the offensive line, and odds are good that either Eric Fisher, Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper will be available when the Rams pick at either 16 or 22.
But that doesn’t mean they have to pass on a WR. If they want to gamble and trade down, or try and grab a falling player (Justin Hunter? Robert Woods?) in the second, then by all means, pull the trigger. We’ve all been enamored by what Les Snead and Jeff Fisher have been able to accomplish in the draft, but one year does not a good sample size make. There is no guarantee that a fifth-round Lithuanian PG is going to come in and make us all forget about Danny Amendola.
The defense kept games close, and the offense choked some of them away. The Rams need receivers and the Rams need offensive lineman. These aren’t mutually exclusive needs, so stop acting like it. Draft a receiver, draft an offensive lineman, and watch the Rams win games.
*Update: I wrote this before the Rams signed Titus Young. Some of the things I talked about (i.e. not having any receivers on the roster) are obviously alleviated by having him on the team. Still, it's no guarantee he stays any longer than the preseason. I thought I'd let you know that I didn't forget about the guy Calvin Johnson wishes he could become. If anything, I think this helps prove my idea that the Rams want some big guns out wide.