FanPost

Rams' 2013 Draft Strategy: Realism Edition

Thearon W. Henderson

What's up guys; long time fan/reader, first time commenter. A minute ago I finished reading Ryan's recent post discussing Todd McShay's mind-numbingly unimaginative mock draft. It seems to suggests a possibility of STL using one or both(!!) of their 1st round picks to select a receiver, a running back, and even a defensive tackle (to deepen the relatively healthy rotation). Though I must say that reading any, ESPN Mock Draft: part #680,000 by McShay/Kiper/_____(insert analyst), excites me about as much as plunging a toilet at this point, a large number of the concurring fan comments were somewhat disturbing and frustratingly naive.

To put it the simplest: given the available choices at wide receiver this year and considering the all but prohibitive holes in a number of roster spots we have, I want absolutely no part of either Patterson or Austin (and certainly any defensive lineman) in round 1 this year.

In my opinion, Tavon Austin is a third round luxury player. Essentially a gimmick and a 'joker' type of wildcard who may prove to be useful only in a context of a much more complete and weapon-equipped offense. Though his speed and change of direction ability may seem impressive in a spread offense, Big East rivalry game; his downright fragile size and inability to continue plays through contact (both with the ball and through a jammed route) will limit his utility in St. Louis (that is of course if the "inactive: broken everything" injury status from week 2 and on won't do him in first).

As for Cordarelle Patterson, I would have little courage to spend even a 5th round selection on his services, not to mention #16 overall. The quintessential one year wonder (if you consider 41 catches a "wonder") from Tennessee is your prototypical 'WR bust disaster' just waiting to happen to some combine-awed team whose trigger-man is reactionary enough to make the mistake. It's a shame that Al Davis is too dead to trade up for this one, cause I wouldn't have to worry about Patterson being on the board past the 10th pick.

I understand that many of you see the utter incompetence at wide-out as a major handicap on the offense and consider it a top priority (rightfully so), but it seems to me that people forget both the history and the incredibly high risk factor that comes along with evaluating receivers (second most bust-prone position next to Quarterback). Far more polished and pro-transitive receivers end up out of the NFL on a seasonal basis, and both Austin and Patterson display enough red flags to recall the train-wrecks of Troy Williamson, Donnie Avery, Titus Young, etc.

On that note, why not take a flier on Darrius Heyward-Bey who is available in free agency for a relatively cheap one year 'show me deal'? He would bring many of the very same tools perceived in Patterson not to mention the proven ability to at least play in the NFL, and comparable potential to develop further (only 26 years old and superior to Patterson in both speed and route running, among other attributes). This would allow us to spend the picks on guys like Warmack and Vaccarro while sticking to one high risk receiving project at a time in Brian Quick. Granted we would still depend on BQ to emerge as a number one receiver in this scenario, but with Pettis as a possession-style number 2, and Givens stretching downfield and lining up in the slot, the job of the #1 is Quick's to take. Since most scouting sources peg Austin into the slot, Keenan Allen as a solid number 2 guy, and Patterson a 'ready in 2015 if ever' project, I really see no sense in gambling on any of the above and instead, focusing on the offensive line, safety, linebacker holes which have a much greater potential to be effectively repaired.

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