NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 20: Michael Floyd #3 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish rushes against the Army Black Knights at Yankee Stadium on November 20 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
The St. Louis Rams have to get a wide receiver. It's not up for debate. But who are they going to pick in the 2012 NFL Draft? Let's break down the odds.
Look at yourself.
You're getting so old. So very, very old. You're remembering a time when Torry Holt was an up-and-coming young wide reciever with the St. Louis Rams and not the retiring veteran who put in a Hall of Fame caliber career with the Rams and briefly Stallions nee Jaguars. It's not a happy thought to know that Father Time hunts us all down eventually (sans Mariano Rivera), but such is life.
Mr. Holt singed a one-day contract with the Rams last week to retire as a Ram. He hasn't played in the NFL for the past two seasons, but he's finally ready to move on to the next phase of his life and the ceremonial signing was a good way to remind fans of the franchise that they are legally still able to sign top-flight pass-catching talent if they really, really want to. Rumors to the contrary are false.
Wide receiver is the hardest position to project up a level in the NFL. The best there ever was was passed over 15 times before the 49ers decided to take Jerry Rice. Terrell Owens was a third rounder. Cris Carter round four. But since the Rams are so thin at WR, it makes sense that they're going to use one of their first four picks to take a ball grabber.
Let's break down the odds...
Justin Blackmon. (4 to 1) The Oklahoma State Machine led the nation's most potent college offense in 2011 while making big plays in the biggest moments. 111 passes for 1,782 yards and 20 touchdowns would look good in STL, wouldn't it? His speed was a big question heading into the combine, but a 4.45 time put that minus to bed. He's still a generous 6'1", which is a bit shorter than you'd want your 1A to be, but it's not a killer. The Rams are more than 50/50 to take him if he's there for them with the 6th pick in the draft.
Michael Floyd. (7 to 1) The Rams were one of the few teams that really would have benefited from his 'character' issues bubbling up and killing his draft stock. But as the top WR performer at the combine and a subsequent tour of teams with impressive interviews have unfolded, he seems to be gaining ground on Blackmon as the top WR prospect in this draft. He's a solid three inches taller than Blackmon, with a bigger grip. He played in a much tougher situation than Blackmon at Notre Dame (i.e. no QB to work with consistently), but put up similar numbers (sans TDs.) If the rumors of the Rams looking to move down to the middle of the first round to acquire another pick are true, then the Rams are probably targeting Floyd.
Kendall Wright. (50 to 1) If 'System Product' were ever allowed as a suitable surname on NFL jerseys, Wright would be a candidate to wear it. Gaudy numbers at Baylor with RGIII tossing him the pill, but his terrible 40 at the combine, lack of height (5' 11"), and the stigma of playing in the spread are helping push down his stock. For every Wes Welker and Mike Wallace, there are 25 guys like Kendall Wright. Maybe he blossoms in the NFL, but the Rams can't afford to take that gamble. Danny Amendola, if healthy, is a better option for the Rams. Even if he's on the board in round two, the Rams will pass.
Stephen Hill. (9 to 1) The Rams are praying (probably literally) that Hill falls to the 33rd pick. Big (6' 4") with sub 4.3 speed and big play capability? Sounds like exactly what the Rams need, no? The fact that Calvin Johnson is a big Georgia Tech supporter still has those mid-to-late first-round teams looking really hard at Hill. In fact, I hate even writing this paragraph for fear of jinxing the Rams' chances. I love, love, love this pick anywhere after 15. If the Rams can get a partner and slide to the middle of the first round, then we're in business.
Mohamed Sanu. (2 to 1) Terrible combine. Plummeting stock. A perfect storm for the Rams. He has that Donnie Avery-ish feel about him that makes me think the Rams are up to something here. He's OK size. OK talent. OK in just about every way, except when he starts dressing in the blue and gold. Then he'll suck. Probably hard. I've already prepared myself for the Sanu era.
Juron Criner. (15 to 1) He has the size, the speed and the talent. He tore it up at the Senior Bowl last year. And he has the look of a good receiver. But somehow no one has him rated above a second round pick, because of mysterious 'off-field' issues. Considering nothing like a crime or NCAA infraction is available to pick on... this means one thing. Dude is a dick. I don't know this for a fact, but I've read enough draft reports to know that when you've got all the tools and people aren't clamoring for you... then you're a big fat dick. To your teammates and to the coaches.
(I'll feel really bad if someone sends me an article detailing his charity work in Haiti or something. So don't. He's not a dick, OK. I'm sure he just needed to mature.)
Field (1 to 1) The Rams are going to have to use a late-round pick as well to try and find a diamond in the rough. The corps as it stands right now isn't enough to be much improved over 2011 and Steve Smith's health is too big of a concern to pin any sort of hope on him.
Happy drafting Rams!
PS. Donnie Avery. Can you still believe they did that?