Now that free agency has settled, there is a growing faction of St. Louis Rams faithful that believe the team should draft a wide receiver with one of their two first round picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. While the rationale behind this contention is certainly sound, the idea itself is much less practical. Given the fact that receivers are anything but sure things in the draft, it would must much more sense for the Rams to fill needs along the offensive line in round one in this lineman-heavy class.
Both Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson left town in free agency, but the Rams have already taken more than enough steps to replace their production in the passing game. Even though their biggest acquisition (in terms of impact and size) in Jake Long won’t be catching any passes or scoring any touchdowns, his presence will improve the aerial attack by providing quarterback Sam Bradford with an adequate amount of time to throw. That can’t be underestimated in this equation due to the frequency with which Bradford has been sacked during his first three years in the league.
In addition to Long, the Rams also added Jared Cook who may be a tight end on the depth chart, but can do so much more on the field. His presence will add a dynamic element to the offense that neither Amendola nor Gibson could provide. Couple his arrival with the continued development of now second year players Chris Givens and Brian Quick and this team should be more than stocked with weaponry.
What would make even more sense than selecting a Tavon Austin or Keenan Allen in round one would be to land a player like Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper who could further insulate Bradford in the pocket. This type of addition would also benefit the running game which will be turning over a new leaf with Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead expected to share the load. A safety also makes sense in the middle of the first round, but only if Kenny Vaccaro is still available.
Trading down is always an attractive option for a team that wants to build through the draft. General Manager Les Snead may be inclined to take that route and accumulate additional picks in a draft class that has been called one of the deepest in years. Don’t be surprised if the Rams put the wide receiver need on the back burner early in the draft and focus on building the offensive line or acquiring more picks instead.