Charlie Casserly at NFL.com examined some of the decisions teams made in the 2012 NFL Draft. He hit on one of the choices made by the St. Louis Rams that left me wondering when the team's first of three 2nd-round picks was announced: Brian Quick over Rueben Randle.
Like others in the media, I thought Randle was a better pick. I considered him the fourth-best receiver in the draft. I am not a talent evaluator. Most of you are not talent evaluators, no matter how hard to try to sound like one in 140-character increments.
This was one of those cases where teams had a much different view of players than fans and the punditry. I believe they saw more upside in Quick ... Quick has a lot of raw talent. He has size, strength and good enough speed. He shows good hands and an ability to run after the catch. I thought he disappeared versus better opponents. In Randle's case, he is a physical player who catches the ball well. He is also savvy running his routes. The question on who is the better player might not be answered this year, because Quick should have more opportunities to catch the ball than Randle.
1. The two most asked questions on Randle where whether he could beat tight coverage and was he tough enough to come across the middle?
2. How soon will Quick emerge as the Rams number one receiver? Will he struggle with the jump in the level of competition?
Quick will obviously be a key part of the offense this year. He will not be leaned on in the way more established receivers are.
The Rams offensive plans were made obvious when they beat back the Steven Jackson trade talk and drafted Isaiah Pead with one of their 2nd-round picks. Jeff Fisher is going to run the ball, and he's going to run a number of plays that generate mismatches in space. Tight end Lance Kendricks will be counted on this year, as will Danny Amendola and Steve Smith.
As rookie, Quick's greatest contribution can be his ability to catch a fade, particularly in the end zone. Jump balls will also be key for the big rookie. Teams were successful with rookie receivers last year limiting their exposure to the route tree and instead focusing on those kind of plays that take advantage of their raw skills. Forcing Quick, or Chris Givens for that matter, into the route tree too far too fast will not serve the Rams well.