The St. Louis Rams need help at wide receiver. There can be no argument on that front. Where things break down is how to address that issue. The Rams swung and missed at the top free agent targets, beaten out by pricey, nonsensical contracts or the opportunity to compete for a Super Bowl right away. The 2012 NFL Draft is the team's next best hope to fill that need sooner rather than later.
The trick for the Rams is finding someone different, someone other than the plethora of possession receivers working between the numbers and out of the slot. One option they might have is LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle.
One of Randle's biggest fans is NFL Films guru Greg Cosell, who has raved about Randle's ability at the professional level.
Wide receivers who can line up on the outside and win against man-to-man coverage at the short, intermediate and deeper levels (Andre Johnson and Calvin Johnson come to mind), always have more value. That's inarguable.
That just so happens to be the Rams' biggest need at receiver. Here is Cosell on Randle:
A big wide receiver who I believe can align on the outside and run the complete route tree is LSU's Rueben Randle (6-3, 210). The more games I watch, the more I like Randle. He is smooth and athletic, with better acceleration off the ball than either Jeffery or Sanu. In some ways, he reminds me of the New York Giants' Hakeem Nicks, who was not drafted until the 29th pick in the first round in 2009. Nicks was the fifth wide receiver selected that year (after Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin and Percy Harvin), but he's clearly been the most productive of the bunch. Where Nicks has been very effective - and I project Randle playing a similar role - is at "x iso", the single receiver to one side of the formation. When you're aligned at "x," you must be able to win versus man coverage.
Where Randle falls in the draft is the subject of some debate. He looks like a late first-round pick in the eyes of most, but a slide into the top of the second round is an outside possibility.
The Rams have a visit with Randle lined up prior to the draft, one of three receivers, so far, that the team will spend some time with ahead of the draft. Most would guffaw at the thought of Randle with the sixth pick, but the Rams and other NFL teams could share Cosell's opinion and make some surprise moves.