St. Louis Rams Can’t Give Up On Young Receiving Corps This Offseason
With the St. Louis Rams holding the No. 2 and No. 12 overall selections in the 2014 NFL Draft in addition to their full complement of picks in the later rounds, many are calling for the team to grab yet another wide receiver. Though they may want to add another late-round project type of guy like Chris Givens was in the 2012 draft (fifth round), spending a day one or day two pick on a wideout would be a misguided move by the franchise.
When the Rams allowed both Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson to leave via free agency last offseason no one could have anticipated quarterback Sam Bradford’s torn ACL in the 2013 season which took a toll on the production from all of the team’s young weapons. Transitioning from catching passes delivered by Bradford to snagging balls from Kellen Clemens is kind of like going from a steady diet of Red Lobster to your daily dose of Burger King. It still tastes alright at times, but you still crave that consistency of the previous dining destination.
Analogies aside, this Rams team with weapons like the aforementioned Givens, the ever-disappointing Brian Quick, rookie jitterbug Tavon Austin, his collegiate teammate Stedman Bailey and the ever-present Austin Pettis is more than adequately stocked at receiver. Add in the fact that they also have tight end Jared Cook who doubles as a wideout frequently and the space for another mouth to feed dwindles.
The real story here is that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was forced to adapt his system into one that accommodated Clemens rather than Bradford after his injury. Once the team started picking its spots more in the passing game rather than lining up in the shotgun every single down it freed up more space on the field. Giving a quarterback of Bradford’s caliber these weapons listed above with a run-heavy offense led by Zac Stacy would do wonders for the production of the receiving corps. Having a legitimate rushing attack forces the safeties to cheat up in run support which leaves the defense susceptible to shots over the top. Clemens didn’t always take advantage of these opportunities, but Bradford certainly wouldn’t shy away.
What it all boils down to is that the Rams have more than enough weapons at their disposal for the long-term. This team needs to focus on building in the trenches on offense along with finding some guys who can actually cover in the secondary rather than wasting frivolous choices on a receiver. Impact players are needed in those areas, not receiver, and this team would be wise to hold off on addressing the position until round four at the earliest.