When the 2013 season started, the St. Louis Rams were the youngest team in the league, based on the average age of the roster. With moves here and there in the month since, that's changed a little, but the Rams are still leaning on young players to get the job done this year. But just how much leaning are they doing on their younger players, specifically the guys picked this year and last in the NFL Draft?
There's a pretty stark contrast when you break it down by offense and defense. On the defense, five rookies or second-year players have starting jobs (four since safety T.J. McDonald is on IR with the designation to return). The youngsters have really yet to crack the lineup on the other side of the ball.
Below is every offensive player selected by the Rams in the last two drafts, along with their stats for the last two seasons. One thing that stands out right away is that these players aren't having much of an impact. That might have something do with the fact that they aren't getting many opportunities to make an impact, with two notable exceptions in Tavon Austin and Chris Givens.
Brian Quick, WR
Round 2, No. 33
2013: 93 snaps, 0 starts, four catches, 50 yards, zero TDs, 36.4 percent catch rate
2012: 187 snaps, one start, 11 catches, 156 yards, two TDs, 40.7 percent catch rate
"We expect him to play and be a big part of our offense," Jeff Fisher said after the team's May 2012 rookie minicamp. "We don't think about it any other way than that. We wouldn't have taken him at the spot where we took him were we not convinced that he was one of those guys that could learn fast and help us very early in the season."
Out of all the names on this list, the case of Brian Quick is the most perplexing. Read that quote above. We heard that on repeat right up until the start of the 2012 season. Quick was buried last year, rarely getting on the field. He's playing more this season, but the first pick of the second round in the 2012 NFL Draft, is still playing less than one-third of the team's offensive snaps so far.
Granted, wide receiver is a notoriously difficult position for players making the jump, especially coming from small schools like Appalachian State. That's why I'm unwilling to write Quick off. Besides, a player might actually have to, you know, get a chance to play before you can label him a bust.
Why the Rams aren't playing Quick is frustrating enough, especially when the offense is as bad as it is. Worse, is why we're not getting a clear explanation for why the coaches suddenly feel like their Quick-starter is buried on the depth chart.
Isaiah Pead, RB
Round 2, No. 50
2013: 72 snaps, zero starts, seven carries, 21 yards, nine catches, 61 yards, zero TDs
2012: 42 snaps, one start, 10 carries, 54 yards, three catches, 16 yards, zero TDs
Yeah, the running back situation kind of speaks for itself.
Chris Givens, WR
Round 4, No. 96
2013: 225 snaps, four starts, 13 catches, 235 yards, zero TDs, 54.2 percent catch rate
2012: 641 snaps, 12 starts, 42 catches, 698 yards, three TDs, 54.5 percent catch rate
I know Givens draws some tough coverage, but this week, of all weeks, let Bradford give him a shot on some deep routes.
Rok Watkins, OG
Round 5, No. 150
Released, July 2013
Daryl Richardson, RB
Round 7, No. 252
2012: 314 snaps, zero starts, 98 carries, 475 yards, zero TDs, 24 catches, 163 yards
2013: 143 snaps, three starts, 42 carries, 114 yards, zero TDs, 11 catches, 86 yards
Tavon Austin, WR
Round 1, No. 8
2013: 195 snaps, two starts, 20 catches, 124 yards, two TDs, 64.5 percent catch rate, 6.2 yards per reception
Stedman Bailey, WR
Round 3, No. 92
2013: Four snaps, zero starts, no targets
Barrett Jones, C
Round 4, No. 113
2013: zero snaps
Jones probably isn't going to play this season unless Scott Wells gets hurt. Wells has the lowest run blocking rating of any Rams offensive lineman this season. But he's not allowing much pressure on the QB, which is good. The Rams desperately need to be drafting and developing offensive linemen, so hopefully Jones gets his shot next season.
Zac Stacy, RB
Round 5, No. 160
2013: nine snaps, zero starts, two games, one carry, four yards, zero touchdowns
Here again, why has this guy not gotten a chance? Maybe he will this week.
The Rams have favorable matchup with the Jaguars coming to town. It would be a great week to give the young players on this list a chance to prove themselves.