Over at his NFC West blog, Mike Sando takes a quick look at the St. Louis Rams wide receivers, reviewing some of the surprises and struggles.
We started the season with some glaring question marks at that position, but hasn't been all bad for the Rams at WR this year. Laurent Robinson established a rythm with Marc Bulger right out of the gate. Donnie Avery struggled through the first half, dropping passes and looking unfit for a #1 WR type of role. You notice this week, his best of the season, the Rams used him down the field and played to his strengths. Keenan Burton started to come on recently too, playing hard and catching some balls over the middle. This week also featured the impressive debut of Brandon Gibson, and while it's hard to base an analysis off of one week, he looks to have been a real find.
Now, the rest of the receivers, uh, they leave a little to be desired. But what about next season? Through the first half of this year, finding a true blue #1 WR has been a need fans have agreed upon. For many, that position is in the conversation for a first round pick in the upcoming draft. And then we played the Saints.
In the game thread, someone mentioned that the Rams WR situation got a lot more interesting with Robinson, Avery and Gibson in mix next year. For Avery and Robinson, experience will no longer be lacking. Looking a group that starts with those three makes the debate about a first round WR much more interesting.
One thing to remember about that group. Avery and Robinson have had trouble staying healthy, and adding Burton into the mix as a 4th WR, you get a group that's sat out as many NFL games as they've played, or so it seems. In other words, don't get too comfortable with the idea that the Rams can sacrifice the chance to take a WR in the first round, especially if they end up winning a few more games and getting out of Suh territory.
The Rams still need a receiver next season. I can't concede that point. Gibson looks like a nice complement to Avery, but we still need some time to really get a sense of what we've got in him. The Rams have lots of needs to fill, but we've seen what happened through the first 8 games with the offense because of the WR issue (of course, some of that's on the QB too).
We do have a little more room to see what kind of player becomes available in the second or third rounds. Maybe someone like an Eric Decker or Golden Tate. Thoughts? Do we still need a solid #1 WR?