The St. Louis Rams made a big splash at the wide receiver position during the NFL Draft. Les Snead & Co. moved up eight spots to get the explosive Tavon Austin. His PIC (Partner in Crime) at West Virginia, Stedman Bailey, was subsequently chosen with the team's second third-round pick.
Austin brings the speed/elusiveness/video game play-making ability that the Rams have been lacking for years. Bailey gives the Sam Bradford a reliable, sure-handed receiver with speed. At first glance, these wide outs were brought in to replace the departed Danny Amendola (have y'all seen this commercial??? I thought it was freakin' hilarious!) and Brandon Gibson. But in essence, Tavon is so much more of an explosive weapon than Amendola ever was and Bailey has been quoted as saying he models his game after Steve Smith. Lets hope we get the Carolina Panthers' Steve Smith and not the one we are more familiar with.
One element that these newly acquired offensive toys do not bring to the field is size. Enter: Brian Quick and his 6'3-6'4 220 lbs frame. It is these physical traits that have Quick poised for a breakout year.
In Bryan Fontaine's piece over at PFF, he mentions that Quick still has the same talent level that made him the Rams second-round pick just a year ago. Brian is still big (he didn't shrink in the last year ). He is still a physical receiver (remember that TD against the 49ers?).
Then, in the same article, Fontaine quotes NFL Film's Greg Cosell:
Quick is a very fluid and smooth athlete with excellent lateral quickness and deceptive vertical speed due to stride length. It’s not a stretch at all, when you analyze Quick’s physical and athletic attributes, to understand why the Rams selected him early. With his size and overall skill set, he has a chance to be the best wide receiver in this draft class.
If Quick progresses as planned, he'll be our big receiver, like Vincent Jackson. Quick did not put up much in terms of numbers on the boards (let me know if y'all know where that music reference is from). In the 15 games he played in, Quick registered 11 catches, 156 yards and two touchdowns.
In fact, in Jackson's rookie year, he only had three catches for 59 yards. Jackson, like Quick, was from a small school. His "breakout year" did not occur until his fourth year (59 receptions, 1,098 yards, seven TDs). Also, fun tidbit, Rams' GM Les Snead compared Quick when drafting him.
The remaining WR cast also comes into play. Chris Givens had a solid rookie year and is expected to make huge strides this season. Tight End Jared Cook is also expected to play an integral part of the passing game. Austin and Bailey figure to be speed threats along with Givens. WR Austin Pettis and TE Lance Kendricks should also have a niche in the offensive scheme.
Jackson's career path should be what we'd compare Quick to. In his second year, Jackson had a 27-453-6 stat-line. In his third year, his stats were 41/623/3. These are similar numbers that have been thrown around a lot recently (check Brent Lancaster's twitter timeline). His biggest impact should be seen in the redzone where he can use his strengths.
I'll leave you guys with this video of all of Quick's targets in 2012. Cheers: