Of all the teams in the league heading into the 2013 NFL Draft, one would think that the St. Louis Rams are sitting in a better position than any. They were the youngest team in the entire NFL in 2012 and expect to get even younger with two first round picks in April. Still all is not lollipops and unicorns for the Rams who face some serious questions in the free agent market. Those lingering concerns could dictate just which direction the club chooses to go in the upcoming draft.
Steven Jackson’s contract option coupled with his $7 million cap number in 2013 make him a question mark. The Rams are optimistic however that they can come to terms with him and keep him around for the upcoming year.
Where the optimism runs out however is with wide receivers Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson who are both likely to command large offers on the open market. The Rams don’t have much room to work with in terms of the salary cap and they won’t be able to overspend to keep either player around. That means that more will fall on the shoulders of second year wideouts Brian Quick and Chris Givens in 2013 to pick up the slack.
How all of this relates to the Rams draft position is that with the luxury of two first round picks, the team can fill its need at receiver early in the draft. The one player that would make a ton of sense for St. Louis is former Tennessee Volunteers pass catcher Cordarrelle Patterson. Quarterback Sam Bradford has never had a legit number one receiver in his time with the Rams and Patterson would certainly fill that void.
Patterson’s ability to accelerate is what most scouts point to as his top attribute. He is a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands who has the speed to break away from defenders yet is strong enough to keep his feet and break tackles. Bringing him to the Rams could bring back some memories of the Greatest Show on Turf days.
Given how coveted explosive receivers have become in today’s NFL, the Rams would likely have to use their 16th overall selection to take Patterson. Some have had him penciled in as high as number eight overall to the Buffalo Bills while others have had him lasting all the way to the Minnesota Vikings with the 23rd overall pick.
The Rams are fortunate to have two picks in between that range and snagging Patterson with one of those choices would be a wise move for the team to make. Adding him into the mix on offense would fill a hole likely to be created in free agency and give the Rams offense that scary playmaker that has been missing from the equation for the better part of the past decade.