Not even the most optimistic (forget glass half full, try glass overflowing) fan could have expected the season that the St. Louis Rams got from their fourth round pick Chris Givens last season. As a rookie, Givens exploded onto the scene with his deep speed and playmaking ability to leave plenty of defensive secondaries wondering what went wrong. With an expanded role in 2013, there’s no reason to think that terrific display is going to end this season.
Givens set a rookie record by catching a pass of 50-plus yards in five straight games during the 2012 season which gives you a taste of just what this kid is capable of. His deep speed was unaccounted for by most corners a year ago as he got loose behind the defense and hauled in several rainbows from quarterback Sam Bradford. This year, however, defenses will have more film on Givens and have a chance to prepare for the speedster.
Perhaps that is why the Rams went out and got offensive during this offseason by adding even more weapons at the skill positions. Even though the team allowed the oft-injured Danny Amendola and severely underrated Brandon Gibson to leave via free agency, St. Louis brought in athletic tight end Jared Cook and traded up to select the most dynamic playmaker in the 2013 NFL Draft in Tavon Austin. Just thinking about Austin and Givens together out on the field should be a frightening image for the 31 defensive coordinators around the league.
With Givens being the leading receiver for the team last season at just 698 yards, the expectations have to be ratcheted up a bit for this coming season. Adding in the additional weaponry with the extra space that figures to be available as a result makes him a real breakout candidate this coming season.
Givens now has another year of familiarity with the offense as well which will certainly help make him more comfortable in his routes and give him a better rapport with Bradford under center. Going up against corners like Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan play after play during training camp certainly won’t hurt his cause either.
The Rams as a team are certainly one to watch out for in 2013, but Givens figures to be a serious reason why. It would be surprising to see him under 1,000 yards with the departure of the other two leading receivers from a year ago and anything less than half a dozen touchdowns would be unexpected as well. Look for Givens to have quite an encore season to back up his impressive showing a year ago as a rookie.