The Rams (as well as the rest of the world) know that wide-receiver is by far and long their biggest need. One could point out the “dink-n-dunk” offense they were forced to run last season, the prime time fiasco against Seattle, or the fact that their top receiver (Danny Amendola) didn’t even exceed 700 yards on the season. Those are all clear cut signs that the wide-receiver position is decimated.
But put all of those reasons aside for a moment, and there is still the argument that the Rams just gave $50 million guaranteed to the future of the franchise, quarterback Sam Bradford. After drafting Bradford, the team immediately drafted offensive-tackle Roger Saffold in the second round to protect their investment. And now, it is time to further protect the investment by giving Bradford a serious receiver.
About four or five months ago, before the lockout, I said that the team needs to sign a free-agent wide-receiver, because they can’t put a huge need like that to chance by waiting for the draft. But now that the draft is set in stone, and free-agency is “iffy”, we are looking at a reverse situation. The team needs to get their top wide-out in the draft, and not put it to chance by waiting for free-agency.
Personally, I think it would be worth it to cough up a third round pick, and move up into the top 10 for Julio Jones. But some fans feel that the team needs that third round pick, because the team still has many needs. And my gut tells me that Billy Devaney is uneasy about moving up as well, as flashy picks are not really his thing.
But people should not write off Julio Jones as a guaranteed top 10 pick. Yes, Jones will likely be gone in the top 10, but draft day is always full of surprises. Wide-receivers in particular have been known to drop unexpectedly. Here are some examples…
1) 2008 NFL Draft: This draft was not particularly strong at the receiver position. In fact, there were zero receivers selected in the first round. Wide-receiver DeSean Jackson, who was widely considered the top receiver of the draft by many, not only slipped out of the first round all together, but there were six receivers selected in front of him in the second round.
2) Michael Crabtree: Crabtree’s draft stock was hurt due to a broken foot, but not by much. Crabtree, who was considered the best receiver of the 2009 draft class, was mocked by almost every analyst as a player that would be selected in the No. 3 – 7 range. However, when draft day arrived, Crabtree took a slip all the way down the San Francisco 49er’s at No. 10 overall.
3) Jeremy Maclin: Maclin, who was in the same 2009 draft class as Crabtree, was considered the second best receiver of the draft behind only Crabtree. It was assumed that Maclin would be a lock f0r the top 15. In fact, prior to the draft, Philadelphia fans surely felt as if they had no chance at Maclin. But in the end, he did manage to slip to them at No. 19 overall.
4) Dez Bryant: Bryant was consistently mocked by analysts as the top receiver of the 2010 draft. He was initially thought to be a possible top 10 pick, but after showing signs of immaturity (like forgetting his cleats at his own pro-day) he lost some of that stock. But despite the questions surrounding him, many people were certain that he would go in the top 20. He ended up going to Dallas at No. 24 overall.