NFL St Louis Rams

5 St. Louis Rams Players Poised to Become Stars in 2013

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5 St. Louis Rams Players Poised for Stardom in 2013 NFL Season

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Fisher arrived with the St. Louis Rams last offseason and scraped this team up off of the league’s basement. A laughingstock for five seasons with a combined 15 wins entering 2012, Fisher changed the culture with the Rams immediately and restored some belief for a once proud franchise.

Entering his second year in charge, the expectations have ratcheted up a level with some even projecting the Rams as a dark horse NFC playoff pick. In order to achieve those lofty goals, however, the team is going to need some players who have yet to realize their full potential to blossom into full-fledged stars.

The league’s youngest roster boasts several viable candidates to become household names in the upcoming season. From players with loads of upside to guys that are still searching for their true niche in the league, the Rams have a number of players ready for stardom in 2013.

Just because these players appear ready for fame doesn’t mean that it’s entirely ready for them. Most of the players on this list are included because they will be in new, expansive roles that will allow them to fully take advantage of their skill-set this season. Projecting a player’s potential in that manner can sometimes be a tricky proposition, but the Rams have these guys all headed in the right direction.

It isn’t playoffs of bust for the Rams this season, but if they are to go from 2-14 in 2011 to the postseason in 2013 these five guys must emerge as big-time contributors. Here are five players the Rams have that are poised for stardom this coming season.

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5. William Hayes, DE

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This might be considered a deep sleeper, but William Hayes is an integral part of this Rams defense. There is a reason why the team gave him a lucrative three-year, $10.5 million extension this offseason. The Rams consider him to be a vital piece of their defense capable of coming in and sustaining a level of play that defensive ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long do on a regular basis. He could find himself being utilized even more this season in defensive coordinator Tim Walton’s defensive schemes, and that will lead to far more recognition for this relative unknown.

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4. Jared Cook, TE

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He may have already gotten paid like a star this past offseason, but Jared Cook is still a largely unproven commodity. With his best season coming back in 2011 when he reeled in a measly 49 catches, there’s no doubt the Rams have far bigger expectations for this guy in his reunion with coach Fisher. Cook’s 6-foot-5, 248-pound frame is dynamic enough in its own right, but coupling that package with 4.4 speed is just ridiculous. This will be the year where Cook goes over 1,000 yards receiving and becomes a household name in fantasyland as well.

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3. Janoris Jenkins, CB

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While he might be a highly recognizable name already, Janoris Jenkins has yet to truly arrive by NFL standards. He did score four defensive touchdowns a season ago, but that didn’t equate to any accolades or recognition outside of his own locker room. That may be fine with this young corner, but this will be the season where the rest of the league is unable to ignore his play. If Jenkins can get more consistent this season teams may actually begin throwing away from him and start acknowledging him as a shutdown corner in just his second NFL season.

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2. Brian Quick, WR

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Much of the attention this offseason at the wide receiver spot has been focused on the departure of Danny Amendola and the arrival of Tavon Austin. That’s just fine with Brian Quick who is finally starting to adapt to the NFL in his second season. The coaching staff is very pleased with his progress, and they are all excited about his potential to blossom with quarterback Sam Bradford this coming season. His big body will provide a glorious red-zone target, and he could haul in at least a handful of touchdowns in the upcoming season.

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1. Daryl Richardson, RB

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This is the textbook example of taking an opportunity and running with it (pun totally intended). Daryl Richardson is slated to be the starting running back for the Rams in the upcoming season, and his ability to blow by defenders on the edge, catch passes out of the backfield, and run between the tackles will afford him a chance to really get noticed this year. After a very productive rookie season in a timeshare role with Steven Jackson (98 carries, 475 yards), Richardson is ready for the spotlight this season. With Isaiah Pead falling behind the growth curve and Zac Stacy just a rookie, there will be plenty of chances for Richardson to become a 1,000-yard back for the Rams in 2013.