The St. Louis Rams have a mainly inexperienced and unproven receiving corps heading into the 2014 season, and with the exception of Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt, no one is guaranteed a spot. During the Rams’ first preseason game against the New Orleans Saints, 12 different Rams players caught receptions as the offense played well, but only three stood out — one of them being second-year WR Stedman Bailey.
Bailey was a first-team All-American WR in 2012 at West Virginia University. He was picked in the third round of the 2013 draft (92nd overall) by the Rams, but only saw limited duty during his rookie campaign. Bailey appeared in all 16 games, had 17 receptions for 226 yards and no TDs.
Against the Saints on Friday evening, he shined in limited time. He had only one reception, but that play resulted in impressive 24-yard touchdown from second-string quarterback Shaun Hill.
Bailey is currently listed behind his former college teammate Austin on the Rams’ depth chart at the RWR position. At 5-foot-10, 195 pounds, Bailey is physically built to play in the slot as he is nearly identical in size to one of the best slot-receivers in NFL history, Wes Welker.
St. Louis is in desperate need of identifying another explosive offensive weapon from its receiving corps in 2014. Last season, tight end Jared Cook led the team in yards, receptions and touchdowns, which is not a good sign. With the exception of the Saints or the New England Patriots, who both have dynamic tight ends in Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski, most teams cannot win on a regular basis relying on their TE as the top option in the passing game.
Unfortunately for the Rams, Bailey will not be starting the 2014 campaign with the team no matter how he performs, as he was suspended for the first four games of the season due to violating the NFL’s PED policy during the offseason. That said, he is an exciting player to follow during the preseason, and might just end up as a integral part of the Rams’ offense in 2014 out of pure necessity. \
He will have every chance to prove he belongs, and it’s now up to him to make it happen.