The Rams wide receiver unit underwhelmed yet again in 2013. As our Evan Glantz pointed out yesterday, the Rams haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since Torry Holt in 2007. In fact, no Rams wide receiver has eclipsed even 700 yards since the 2008 season, which was again accomplished last by Holt.
The second-year receivers, Brian Quick and Chris Givens had mostly disappointing second-year campaigns. This puts the Rams in a position where, despite drafting two wide receivers in each of the past three drafts, they have no choice but to heavily scout this incoming wide receiver class.
However, the 2013 rookies have no reason to fear for their job security. You already know about Tavon Austin. But his college teammate Stedman Bailey might just be the most polished route-runner of all the Rams receivers right now, and he needs to be rewarded for it in 2014.
We’ve already covered in the past how the Rams might have found a steal in Bailey, but unlike Givens and Quick, Bailey needs to back up his rookie campaign with a strong sophomore campaign. I believe he can do that.
Bailey only played 194 snaps at wide receiver last season, but almost all of those came in the back half of the season. Also, those snaps didn’t come via attrition, as none of the Rams’ receivers suffered major injuries. No, Bailey earned his reps by always giving his all when running crisp routes. His numbers back it up too.
Although it’s a small sample size, Bailey averaged 1.95 yards per route run, according to Pro Football Focus (226 yards in 116 routes run). To give you some perspective, that’s by far the best figure among any Ram receiver (Austin and Quick tie for second with 1.37 yprr). He also earned a cumulative PFF grade of +1.8, second only to Austin’s +2.4 among Rams wide receivers.
It’s obviously silly to extrapolate too much, but let’s say Bailey had played in 50 percent of the Rams’ offensive snaps last season. That 1.95 yprr would’ve ranked him 21st out of 44 receivers who took at least 50 percent of their team’s snaps – right behind the Giants’ Victor Cruz and in front of the Cardinals’ Michael Floyd. Not bad for a third-round rookie.
As I said, it’s not wise to project too much, but I think most Rams fans agree that he did enough on the field – both on offense and on special teams – to warrant more playing time next season.
The Rams plan to do…what…at wide receiver exactly?