Taking wide receivers in the top-five or even the top-10 of the draft is a recipe to getting a pink slip as a general manager. See: Matt Millen.
Many believe there is a clear need for a big-time playmaker at the position for the St. Louis Rams entering the 2014 NFL Draft, but that logic has some serious flaws in it. This team just added two pass catchers in last year’s draft that had just under seven games to play with the club’s franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford. I don’t know about you, but that seems like the textbook definition of rushing to judgment to say that neither of those guys is capable of being a valuable receiver for the team.
Recent whispers of the Rams targeting Clemson wideout Sammy Watkins with the No. 2 overall pick following his amazing Orange Bowl showing are completely ridiculous. GM Les Snead would be tiptoeing toward Millen territory if he were to spend that high of the selection on a receiver in his third year in St. Louis.
In case you don’t recall, the former GM of the Detroit Lions infamously selected massive bust Charles Rogers No. 2 overall in 2003, relatively unsuccessful Roy E. Williams No. 7 overall in 2004 and complete bust Mike Williams No. 10 overall in 2005. Though Snead’s first season saw a second-round pick in Brian Quick be selected No. 33 overall, that type of selection is basically a first-rounder in its own right. Taking Tavon Austin last year after trading up to No. 8 overall made two consecutive years with receivers selected fairly early in the draft. A third offseason in a row with a wideout taken that early would really force me to question Snead’s judgment.
The Rams found a fifth-round gem in Chris Givens in 2012, and Stedman Bailey showed some promise late in the year as a third-round pick this past season. It seems fairly clear that receivers are trending in the direction of running backs in the modern day NFL. Unless there is a Calvin Johnson-type talent available, waiting until the later rounds is a preferable area to find a pass catcher.
Now the intent here isn’t to slight Watkins as a potential prospect because there’s no doubt he has loads of potential and could develop into a real weapon at the next level. But there are just too many cautionary tales to justify the risk when the Rams have so many other holes in the trenches on offense and in the secondary defensively.