2012 Draft Preview: Assessing WR Prospects For The Rams

Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon looks like the cream of the crop.

We just published an early draft profile on Oklahoma State wideout Justin Blackmon over at This Given Sunday, and it’s interesting to note that Blackmon is already being mocked to the Rams at #3 overall in preliminary mocks (OptimumScouting.com). But then again, South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery has been mocked to the Rams as well (Sportingnews.com). And Blackmon and Jeffery replace Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd as the Rams’ odds-on pick before the season even started (SBNation.com).

I’m no draft expert when it comes to college talent. I like to think I’m pretty good at assessing team needs and reading tea leaves, though, and even with the acquisition of Brandon Lloyd and slot weapons in Greg Salas and Austin Pettis, and even with Danario Alexander getting heavy usage, I have to think that a young elite X wideout (with healthy knees) is still high on the Rams’ preliminary draft board.

With the season trending the way it is (i.e. straight down), it looks like the Rams will have their pick.

Here’s a quick introduction to the top three:

Justin Blackmon, Junior, Oklahoma State

Measureables: 6’1″, 211 lbs.

Pros: Playing a big role in leading his OSU team to a 9-0 start to the collegiate season. Has tenacity as a run-blocker, similar to Julio Jones. Will go up and get balls, has a nose for making big plays.

Cons: The smallest of the three receivers, which may prejudice him in Josh McDaniels’ eyes (assuming he is here next year, which I do).

External perspective (from SidelineScouting.com): “Compares to current Baltimore Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin, has put up bigger numbers than former Oklahoma State wideout Dez Bryant, who has transitioned well to the NFL.”

School Legacy: Dez Bryant is about it, in terms of WRs who made an impact at the NFL level. The school is better known for a pair of running backs: Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders.

Alshon Jeffery, Junior, South Carolina

Measureables: 6’4″, 223 lbs.

Pros: Enormous, owns the space around him. Plays like a man among boys.

Cons: Having a disappointing junior year statistically, hurt when his quarterback was dismissed. Have to project his skills and performance from freshman and sophomore years to the NFL level.

External perspective (from NFLMocks.com): “Such a physically imposing player who dwarfs literally anyone and everyone who attempts to cover him. He will remind people of an even better version of Brandon Marshall.”

School Legacy: Sidney Rice and Sterling Sharpe both played for SC. But for that matter, so did Lions’ bust Troy Williamson.

Michael Floyd, Senior, Notre Dame

Measureables: 6’3″, 227 lbs.

Pros: Like Jeffery, a big man who plays big. Classic end-zone weapon with an eye-popping 28 touchdowns scored last season. Holds Notre Dame’s career touchdown reception record.

Cons: Playing at Notre Dame, has limited experience vs quality competition. Rarely faced top cornerbacks. Quality of QB play also questionable.

External perspective (from NFLDraft101.com): “Big play receiver – has the “it” factor you look for in a wideout. Excellent hands – strong mitts, catches at highest point and can make the one handed grab.

School Legacy: Long rich tradition tied to the NFL’s golden era, dulled of late. Most recent WR alum was Golden Tate, who is hanging on by a thread in Seattle. David Givens and Raghib “Rocket” Ismail also notable.