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Drafting a Wide Receiver

It's amazing that there's already weariness out there among Rams fans of drafting a buts, another Jimmy Kennedy or Alex Barron in the first round. Even after last year's successful draft, it's understandable why Rams fans have such trepidation every April.

Players taken early, on the first day, are usually expected to contribute right away, with the notable exception of quarterback. For the Rams, not only are the players expected to contribute, they're expected to be key cogs in a turnaround season. No pressure or anything...

In the SBN mock draft, I took a wide receiver with the Rams' second round pick, 33rd overall. And it was a WR widely considered to be of first round caliber and expected to be drafted much sooner than 33rd in Michigan State's Devin Thomas. I'm glad it's just a mock, because I'd have real hard time taking a WR that early. Wide receivers, you see, take much longer to develop and it almost seems like you just can't know whether or not they'll wind up adjusting to the NFL game. Even a first round talent. There's a great article today over at about this topic. A key quote:

Over the last 10 years, NFL teams have drafted 43 wide receivers in the first round. Of those, just two had 1,000-yard seasons as rookies -- the same number of 1,000-yard seasons produced by receivers drafted after the first round...

...The late Tony Razzano, personnel chief of the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s, used to say that he'd never draft a wide receiver in the first round because he felt it took time for receivers to develop and he could get better value later in the draft.

That's kind of how I feel: if you're going to have to develop a player, might as well get the raw talent in the later rounds. This season, I really see the third round as a good time for the Rams to grab a WR. Here's Pat Kirwan's WR rankings for the draft. Potential thrid round picks to pay attention to: Andre Caldwell, Florida and Dexter Jackson, Appalachian State.