Don’t Count Donnie Avery Out Just Yet

Current receivers Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson and Danario Alexander are all figured to be valued pieces on the St. Louis Rams’ 2011 offense.

Wide receiver Mark Clayton, who is not under contract, was extremely valuable and productive for the Rams during the four games he played for the team before going down with a season ending knee injury. It’s assumed that he’ll re-sign with the Rams.

In the draft last April, the team spent a 3rd round draft pick on wide receiver Austin Pettis (Boise St.), as well as a 4th round pick on Greg Salas (Hawaii). Both of them are expected to induce a tough training camp battle between themselves and the previously mentioned receivers.

But one receiver that the team isn’t going to give up on, at least not yet, is 2008 second round pick Donnie Avery.

Avery has been a disappointment thus far, and his career is constantly belittled due to him being under the shadow of Philadelphia Eagles’ receiver DeSean Jackson, as the Rams passed on Jackson in order to draft Avery.

However, Avery will be given a fair shot, since not all receivers can produce at a high level without being given a period of time to develop.

During their rookie campaigns, Jackson had 62 catches for 912 yards and two touchdowns in 15 starts, whereas Avery was not too far behind with 53 catches for 674 yards and three touchdowns in only 12 starts.

The deficit was easily explained away by pointing out that Avery played on a 2-14 team with a terrible offense, while Jackson had the luxury of playing on a 9-6-1 team with an efficient offense that won two playoff games.

Jackson completely separated himself during the second year, as he had 1,156 yards compared to Avery’s 589 yards.

But still, the excuse was still valid.

Jackson had a suitable team to play for, while Avery played on a 1-15 team with one of the worst offenses in history.

But now that the St. Louis Rams are back on the radar, and now that they have a reliable quarterback in Sam Bradford, it’s time to give Avery a fair chance, excuse-free.

Avery missed the 2010 season due to a knee injury obtained during a preseason game against the New England Patriots, but he had two catches for 48 yards in that game, and he looked to be in sync with Bradford.

It’s hard to hold that injury against Avery, but if something similar happens in 2011, then it will be hard for the team to overlook it again.

But if he can stay healthy, then there’s no denying that his 4.2 second 40-yard dash speed will add something special to the offense.

And it would be a shame if he was on verge of breaking loose, and the Rams allowed some other team to reap the benefits.

Therefore, the Rams will give Avery a chance. And with a capable quarterback, it wouldn’t be out of the question for him to turn his career around, perhaps making him the Comeback Player of the Year in 2011.


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