clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

St. Louis Rams depth chart 2014: Sorting out the wide receivers

New, comments

The St. Louis Rams haven't released a depth chart yet, but that doesn't mean that we can't guess how the position battles are going.

Let the good times roll
Let the good times roll
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Starters - Kenny Britt & Tavon Austin

The clear starters for the Rams are Britt and Austin. Austin is a starter in the slot and the Rams have been experimenting with placing him in the backfield more during training camp. When the Rams drafted Austin, it was said that he would play all over the offense, he didn't. More than 78 percent of his targets came with him working out of the slot on either the left or right side. This is year two for Austin and it should be expected that he makes a bigger impact on the offense, whether that's in the backfield, one of the receiver positions, or returning punts.

Britt, on the other hand, will be the Rams starting outside receiver. Britt's supposedly been the veteran presence that the Rams offense was missing. Although he was mostly a disappointment with the Tennessee Titans, the hope is that he's 100 percent healthy and driven to produce for the Rams. He's had nine run-ins with the law and multiple knee surgeries in his short career. Britt is only 25, so there's plenty of reason to hope the best is ahead for him.

Potential starters - Chris Givens & Brian Quick

Last season, you could have made the case that Givens was the best receiver on the Rams. However, he didn't produce the stats that were projected for him. Part of the problem was the lack of a deep passing game in the Rams offense, with both Bradford and Clemens under center. Only 34 of Bradford's 262 passing attempts were deep throws, 13 percent compared to a league average of 18 percent. Clemens' numbers were similar thanks to Brian Schottenheimer's offense. Also, don't forget that Givens was trusted to be the number one guy last season, not as the piece of the puzzle.

So far in training camp Quick has been turning heads and finally looking like the player that the Rams envisioned he would be when he was drafted in the second round of the 2012 draft. The big-bodied receiver, has shown flashes in his first two seasons, but he's also shown reasons to believe that he would be a bust. Finally, it appears as though the Rams gamble on Quick is paying off. However, practice isn't a regular season game, but it's better than him having a horrible training camp.

The Rams could always rotate the two receivers in, but obviously they will start to favor one more and the other could be a situational receiver (one with a lot of snaps though). These two players will be battling to start alongside Britt and Austin, this competition could go either way.

Quick is the better blocker of the two, so maybe the Rams decide that they want Quick to in a run-heavy offense. Or the Rams could start Givens, a natural burner who could be used as a decoy, or to go up field and make a big play.

The backups - Austin Pettis & Stedman Bailey

Bailey has the potential to become a really good receiver. He probably runs the best routes of anyone on the team and more than likely has the best hands. He doesn't have the size of Quick or the speed of Givens, but he could be a productive member of the receiving corps down the road.

Personally, I think Bailey's four-game suspension is bigger than what people make of it. If Quick can establish himself as a good threat, and the others like Britt, Givens, and Austin perform well and don't get injured, it's hard to picture a lot of snaps for Bailey. Coaches always find ways to put productive guys on the field, so it just depends on how the others play.

Pettis has been on the Rams since 2011. He's a very likable guy, but he just doesn't have the upside as the other receivers. While he does have decent hands, he doesn't consistently get open and he's probably reached his peak as a middle of the road possession receiver. Pettis is at his best on third down and goal line situations, he shouldn't be a starter and it's doubtful that he will be counted upon much this season.

On the bubble

Justin Veltung - Played a role on special teams last season, which could help his case if the Rams start the season with an extra receiver.

Emory Blake - Another guy who could make the case to stick around based on his special teams play and Bailey's suspension. He spent time on the practice squad last year.

T.J. Moe - The Rams picked up the rookie Mizzou product as an undrafted free agent, after the Patriots let him go. He's competing for a job as a slot guy.

Austin Franklin - A New Mexico State product that's gotten T.Y. Hilton comparisons, but he's a long shot to make the team given their investment in the high-round picks at the top of the depth chart.

Jordan Harris - Another long shot, but a guy with a long list of receiving records from his time at Bryant University.