Tuesday, February 15, 2011
What the Rams might want in a receiver
By Mike Sando
More than a few 2011 NFL mock drafts are sending Alabama receiver Julio Jones to the St. Louis Rams with the 14th overall choice.
The pairing makes sense on multiple levels.
The Rams do need help at wide receiver. They could use a legitimate No. 1 wideout to build around. They need weapons in general as they build around quarterback Sam Bradford. And if Jones were available at No. 14, he might represent strong value as well.
Jones is a huge receiver. Alabama lists him at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds. Every team in the league could use a talented receiver with such impressive size.
The Rams in particular could favor bigger receivers now that Josh McDaniels is their offensive coordinator. The chart shows every wide receiver McDaniels' teams have drafted since he cracked the NFL with New England a decade ago. A few observations:
- The receivers averaged about 6-1 and 208 pounds even with the diminutive Deion Branch factoring into the equation. Branch, at 5-9 and 195 pounds, was the exception. Seven of the nine receivers on the list were at least 6 feet tall.
- McDaniels had control over personnel during his two seasons with Denver. The team drafted three receivers during those years. All three were at least 6 feet tall. Two of the three stood 6-3 and weighed at least 220 pounds.
- The Broncos drafted two receivers in the first three rounds under McDaniels in 2010.
- The Rams' general manager, Billy Devaney, has never been with a team that used a first-round choice for a receiver. It's no given the Rams will draft one in the first round. McDaniels' teams have used one first-rounder for a receiver.
- On a side note, McDaniels gets credit for helping receiver Brandon Lloyd enjoy a breakout season with the Broncos in 2010. Perhaps McDaniels can help one of the Rams' current receivers enjoy similar success. Lloyd's contract expires after the 2011 season. Also, Devaney was part of the San Francisco 49ers' front office when the team made Lloyd the 124th player drafted in 2003.
- The Patriots have had more misses than hits at receiver over the years. McDaniels' history with the team doesn't reflect well on anyone's ability to evaluate the position.
- Size trumps speed in looking at the receivers in the chart below. In some cases, the Patriots valued players for getting in and out of their breaks -- think Branch -- over straight-line speed.
I'll be ramping up draft-related coverage as the week progresses. Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. has been studying the college players closely. We'll turn our attention to the NFC West in our next conversation, coming up soon.