The 2017 NFL Draft is just around corner, and the Los Angeles Rams are, you guessed it, still in need of a game-changing wide receiver. While it’s anyone’s guess as to how they use their first pick (37th overall) this year, many are of the mindset that a wideout is the route the Rams should go.
Let’s do an exercise.
If you’ll remember, we did this last year. I used some pros and cons from Pro Football Focus’ 2016 NFL Draft guide, and without using their names, had you select the player you thought might help the Rams’ aerial attack. Mike Thomas, the one the Rams didn’t draft, was the clear winner -- and not only because he received 45% of the votes, but because he was drafted by the Saints...where he thrived.
Keeping them nameless, in my opinion, helps take out the bias. Pick the player based on their traits, not because of the school they went to, or what Mel Kiper Jr. might’ve said that one time.
It’ll be a little bit different this year. Instead of using only ONE draft guide, I’ll be using FOUR. I’m going to take a pro and con from each draft guide (per prospect), and I’ll also be providing you with “high” and “low” prospect rankings for each player, based on the boards provided in each guide. Prospect info will be sourced from:
- Pro Football Focus (PFF) - $19.95
- Ian Wharton (IW) - $7
- Optimum Scouting (OS) - $10
- Dane Brugler (DB) - $9.99
Each of these guides are loaded with excellent draft content. If you’re searching for in-depth analysis on the draft’s top prospects, look no further.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff.
It’s simple, I’ll provide the prospect’s pros and cons, and you’ll vote (at the bottom) for the player you think the Rams’ receiving corps could use the most. If you don’t see the poll, it’s most likely because Google - who’s hoping to provide you with mobile-friendly content - has removed it. Feel free to drop your selection in the comments section.
One thing to note...none of the anonymous players listed below are Mike Williams, Corey Davis, or John Ross...because, only based on what we’re hearing at this stage, it sounds like those guys will most likely be gone when the Rams are on the clock. If they do happen to be there, great! But, for this exercise, they’re gone. Sorry.
One last note. Of the five players, three are more consensus guys on most big boards...or the ones you’d see most commonly ranked after Williams, Davis, and Ross. The other two are what I’d deem more popular names — the one’s linked to the Rams most often, who would undoubtedly finish 1-2 in the poll simply because of name recognition.
Let’s see how they fair based solely on what they do well, and not so well, on the football field. I’ll reveal the names of the anonymous prospects (in the comments section below) shortly after posting.
Thanks for playing!
Player 1 - (High: WR5, Low: WR14)
- Sound route runner – doesn’t have elite start/stop quickness, but works hard to sell and square off patterns (DB)
- Blessed with terrific hands and a long frame. A reliable target that can line up all over the field (IW)
- Willingness to make tough catches and consistent hands (OS)
- Has strong and natural hands. Has a large catch radius and can make tough receptions (PFF)
- Average athletic, physical traits with ordinary build and strength for the position (DB)
- He caught an amazing amount of passes, but many were either behind the line of scrimmage or within several yards of it (IW)
- Not a great or sudden athlete and his route running lacks the polish right now to compensate (OS)
- Cannot separate consistently in man coverage and thus cannot create large cushions for quarterbacks (PFF)
Player 2 - (High: WR6, Low: WR11)
- Good-sized athlete with a flexible body type…attacks the ball away from his frame with excellent hand-eye coordination (DB)
- Good speed and play strength, allowing him to get separation deep even on press coverage (IW)
- He is very good at high pointing the ball and extends his arms well to attack the ball in the air (OS)
- Deep threat. Beats defenders physically at the catch point on contested passes (PFF)
- Linear body type with lean limbs and minimal bulk. Better timed speed than play speed and doesn’t routinely set up defenders to separate (DB)
- Doesn’t do well when he has to battle through a contested catch. Must finish stronger, though his lack of great size and power shows there (IW)
- Has some struggles against more physical corners (OS)
- Does not consistently separate against man coverage (PFF)
Player 3 - (High: WR7, Low: WR17)
- Gliding straight-line athlete. Crafty route runner, setting up defenders and using hesitation to create spacing (DB)
- Decent size, speed and versatility. Big-bodied player that moves like a much smaller frame would (IW)
- Route-based separation and late-breaking movement highlight his nuanced development at the position (OS)
- Really strong hands. Doesn’t wait for the ball to come to him, he’ll attack it at the catch point. Rarely loses in contested catch situations (PFF)
- Marginal long-speed and lacks explosive twitch in his patterns (DB)
- Does most of his damage from the slot on crossing routes (IW)
- Did not test all that well at the NFL Scouting Combine (OS)
- Acceleration can be an issue. Takes him a bit to get going, may not have that kind of time and space against NFL players (PFF)
Player 4 - (High: WR5, Low: WR8)
- Muscular frame and lives in the weight room to develop his body. Quick, powerful strides and picks up speed as he goes to pull away (DB)
- Great release speed off the line of scrimmage will make it a dangerous proposition for corners to press him due to the threat of losing quickly (IW)
- Has good game speed and the foot quickness to create after the catch, but it's his physicality as a runner that jumps out (OS)
- Explosive player. Can turn even the simplest screen pass into a big play. Is the best after-the-catch receiver in the entire draft class, has phenomenal field vision and knows when and where to cut to make guys miss (PFF)
- Shorter than ideal. Moves with some tightness in his midsection. Not an explosive leaper and struggles to highpoint when crowded (DB)
- Didn’t see much of press from long, high-caliber corners in college (IW)
- The route tree he ran in college was barren, so there's work to be done as far as learning to win on short to intermediate routes with more than just speed and physicality (OS)
- Very limited route tree with wide open scheme. Mostly ran either quick screen plays to get the ball into his hands, go routes or hitches with defenders way off him (PFF)
Player 5 - (High: WR6, Low: WR13)
- Tall, well-developed physique with a thick trunk…built to take punishment over the middle (DB)
- Very good athlete that runs with ease. Reliable hands and good technique. A move-the-chains-type player (IW)
- He's got a natural physicality rarely seen in WRs. Ultra-competitive and plays with the confidence and demeanor of an X receiver in the NFL (OS)
- Strong, physical receiver who likes to use his size to his advantage (PFF)
- Average-at-best long-speed and lacks the separation quickness to beat man coverage with athleticism alone (DB)
- Occasional drops tend to be focus-based, which is better than fundamental issues and technique but also speak to a want to avoid contact (IW)
- Lacks the explosion and top end speed to strike fear in opponents (OS)
- Doesn’t have top-end speed. Almost never separates completely against corners because of this (PFF)
(Editorial note: Our polls aren’t currently supported by Google AMP and Apple News. If you’re reading this via either, you’ll have to go to the TST link in order to see the poll. We should have polls across those platforms soon. - 3k)
Which WR Would You Draft for the Rams?
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