The St. Louis Rams have been waiting for a wide receiver to step up since Barry Bonds "broke" Hank Aaron’s homerun record. Let that sink in a minute...
There is little doubt that the Rams have a ton of potential in the receiver room. Which one is poised for a breakout season?
The past two off seasons have been littered with praise for OTA champ Austin Pettis. This aforementioned praise leads to high expectations from fans and coaches.
Make no mistake about it, #18 has come up with his fair share of plays. The fourth down conversion against Buffalo in 2012 comes to mind. At one point, Sam Bradford even labeled Pettis as his "go to guy." Unfortunately, Bradford’s go to guy has only been able to account for eight career touchdown receptions.
Another off season warrior is Brian Quick. This guy is a wildcard.
He has almost everything you want in a number one. Standing at 6’3"tall, Quick has prime time height, along with adequate speed. When you take into consideration his height, arm length, and leaping ability, Quick has a gigantic catch radius. There’s just something that isn’t clicking.
Or at least, there’s something that hasn’t clicked yet. I honestly believe he will show major improvement this year. It usually takes a receiver a year to get adjusted to the pro game. Coming from an FCS school, Quick probably needed two seasons to get up to speed. Here’s to hopeful thinking!
Chris Givens had an impressive rookie season, which led to very high expectations. Whether it was the loss of Sam Bradford, or a shift to a more run oriented approach, Givens saw a decline in production.
Though he was second on the team in receiving yards (569) and average yards per reception (16.7), Givens was unable to haul in a single touchdown. Nonetheless, Givens is a very likely candidate to recapture his 2012 form.
Stedman Bailey proved to be a great value pick in the 2013 NFL Draft and a damn good football player. He was a special teams stud and a sure handed option whenever he was given an opportunity.
I personally think he has some of the best and most natural hands on the team. He’s a guy that gets open with route running and body control instead of speed. Bailey will shine when he gets his chances. Unfortunately, #12 may find himself behind the eight ball due to a four game suspension for performance enhancing drugs.
Now for the man who calls himself "Tay-Awesome". Tavon Austin had a slow start to the season. There were quite a few drops early on. Some of those were probably rookie jitters. There was also the Texans’ game in which Austin didn’t see much playing time at all.
Then, there was the game at Indy where everything seemed to come together. There were several big plays in games down the stretch. Also, take into consideration the fact that he had several big plays (some of which were touchdowns) called back.
To sum up Austin, he accounted for 1247 total yards and 5 total touchdowns in thirteen games. He’s going to be a star for us; a bonafide playmaker that opponents must account for in their defensive schemes.
Last but not least, we have Kenny Britt. He's another "Fisher guy" from Tennessee. He has been getting a ton of offseason praise thrown his way. Hopefully, that will pale in comparison to the amount of touchdown passes thrown from Sam Bradford.
Based on his first three seasons, Brit was on pace to be an exceptional receiver. However, Brit tore his ACL and MCL three games into the 2011 season.
Britt is looking to bounce back from several nagging injuries and off field incidents that have plague his last two seasons. I think he’ll have a solid year and hopefully earn a long term deal with the Rams. He should change his number though.
All in all, I can understand why the Rams did not draft a wide receiver. We’ve stockpiled some intriguing talent. Now it’s time for these receivers to make big time plays on a consistent basis. I believe we have, at worst, a lot of "number two" receivers. If one of them can breakout and solidify themselves as a number one guy, we’ll make a run for the playoffs.
I think it can happen with this group. What about you?