Over the past few years, the NFL has seen its elite receivers sharing a common trait: Size. Players such as Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas and Alshon Jeffery have become the norm amongst the top wideouts in the league while smaller wideouts who are still effective like Antonio Brown are harder to find.
Given the ascension of the big, physical wideout, teams now find themselves in the unenviable position of trying to find defensive backs capable of matching up. The idea is simple: a big receiver is probably going to win the majority of jump balls against smaller corners so the only way to combat that is to find bigger corners.
On Wednesday afternoon, Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold took a closer look at the NFL's need for defensive backs capable of matching up with the bigger, stronger, faster genre of receivers.
The piece quotes St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher multiple times, including his belief that there are far more bigger receivers than bigger corners.
"If you can find the size and the speed, you're always going to take the bigger player in any matchup," Fisher told Legwold. "But in my opinion, the gap between the height-weight-speed characteristics of the receivers and the DBs is widening, so there is even more of a premium on the taller, longer corner. But when you start looking at it, in terms of finding these players, there are more, a lot more, bigger receivers than bigger corners."
Fisher got a closer look at all parties in 2013, including two games against Seattle, the one team in the league known for having bigger, more physical corners. The Rams got almost nothing done in the passing game in two meetings against the Seahawks. On the flip side, the Rams also don't see many of the bigger, physical receivers in the NFC West.
But it raises interesting questions about where the Rams roster is headed and what it has now while so many teams around the league are looking to add this type of player at receiver and corner. The Rams brought in Kenny Britt this offseason presumably because Brian Quick has yet to show he can consistently provide the physical presence the team needs outside the hashes. Having one of those two step up to fill that role would be helpful, especially in the red zone.
At corner, Trumaine Johnson profiles as a bigger corner with length but Janoris Jenkins doesn't. Since drafting Johnson, many have wondered if he'd eventually end up at safety but the Rams have been steadfast in keeping him at corner. It's reasonable to assume a big part of that decision is based on this very topic: It's hard to find bigger corners who can play outside down to down.
A roundup of Wednesday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we took a look at Mike Sando's piece on which quarterbacks in the league would be considered worthy of the No. 1 overall pick. ... In this week's Buzz video, I offered a grade of the Rams' free-agent activity. ... From there, we took a look at the team's salary-cap situation and how they are spending their money on offense. ... Finally, we looked at just how long the odds are for someone to win the $100,000 guess-the-schedule contest the Rams are having.
In conjunction with Legwold's piece above, ESPN draft analyst Kevin Weidl offers three prospects who fit the mold of big, physical corners in this Insider piece.
Stlouisrams.com profiles Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio as a potential fit for the Rams.
FoxSports.com looks at the Rams' needs heading into the draft.