Receivers: As is the case with most quarterbacks, earning Sam Bradford’s trust is a key to getting the ball thrown your way. Bradford may not have a security blanket like Danny Amendola on this roster, but he clearly has a comfort level with Austin Pettis, Jared Cook and Chris Givens. The chemistry with Cook is developing quickly. The top three wide receivers at this point clearly are Givens, Pettis and Tavon Austin. Brian Quick has made strides but still has work to do.
We’ve written a good amount about the Rams receiving and tight end units this year. I personally think that Pettis has a decent chance to be the actual #1 WR in the offense… or at least I think that Pettis has more of a chance than fantasy drafters are currently assigning to him. Maybe Pettis’ chance of leading the Rams receivers in touchdowns is 20-30%, while fantasy drafters would probably put that number at 1%.
And then there’s Brian Quick, who we’re all secretly (or not so secretly) pulling for.
Maybe the only guy in the Rams receiving unit that we’re not super high on is Tavon Austin. Except in that case I think it’s more the case that we think he’s just overvalued. He’s the first Rams pass catcher coming off of draft boards and yet I think he has the maybe the lowest chance of leading the team in receiving touchdowns. If I were ranking the Rams pass catchers in terms of potential to lead the team in receiving TDs it would look like this:
- Pettis/Givens (tie)
- Jared Cook
- Brian Quick
- Tavon Austin
- Lance Kendricks
It might be the case that Givens’ potential to lead the team in touchdowns, combined with his low ADP and potential to rack up yardage on long plays makes him the best value. I think Pettis is probably close behind there and if I’m taking a flier late in drafts, I wouldn’t mind spending it on Pettis. But I also think that the Rams’ guidance that they don’t expect any 80 catch guys makes taking the lowest cost player the smart play as well. It either makes taking the lowest cost guy the smart play, or it makes the Rams’ receivers a stay away situation. Actually, that brings me back to a point that I’ve made before – Sam Bradford might be the guy with the best draft cost relative to his upside.
I’ve argued Bradford’s case before, and Bryan Fontaine has also weighed in on the issue, so I won’t go through the whole thing again. But I will say that one thing I really like about the Rams pass catchers is the ability to challenge the defense at every level of the field. The Rams aren’t a great offense yet, but that’s what great offenses do. The Saints always tried to challenge defenses deep with Meachem and Henderson, at the intermediate level with Colston and Lance Moore, and then short with either Reggie Bush or Darren Sproles. The Rams this year will have Givens, Cook and maybe even Austin to challenge defenses deep. Then they can throw to Pettis and Lance Kendricks in the intermediate level, while they can use Austin and the running backs near the line of scrimmage. I’m just guessing that they’ll try to spread defenses out horizontally and vertically and they’ll be much improved as a result. None of this is to say that I think that Shawn Siegele’s case against Sam Bradford is without merit. I just think that the mix of volume potential in that offense, Bradford’s low ADP, and the upgrades they made at receiver, make him a very good risk adjusted bet.