Brian McIntyre at NFL.com recently profiled the Rams’ WR battle as one of the league’s camp competitions to watch. And in doing so, he gives us his picks to make the roster, and highlights who he thinks is on the bubble. Let’s start with the givens (pun intended):
The Rams used the No. 33 overall draft pick on Appalachian State receiver Brian Quick, who signed a four-year, $5.387 million contract that included $3.822 million in guaranteed money, and spent the No. 96 draft pick on Wake Forest receiver Chris Givens.
Quick and Givens are not going anywhere. Beyond that, it’s a free-for-all for three, maybe four roster spots.
McIntyre also pits Danny Amendola vs Steve Smith in a battle for the primary slot receiver, though it wouldn’t be a surprise to see both on the roster. The battle then for the remaining one or two spots comes down to four players:
Greg Salas posted big numbers out of the slot at Hawaii and was having a promising rookie season before suffering a broken leg midway through the season. Injuries to Amendola and Salas is what got 2011 third-round selection Austin Pettis on the field as a rookie. Pettis’ performance is why the Rams invested so heavily in the wide receiver position again this April. Brandon Gibson currently sits atop the depth chart, but he’s a player the current coaching staff and front office inherited, has a seven-figure salary ($1 million) and can be released with no cap implications. The new regime also inherited Danario Alexander, who is a game-changing deep threat when healthy, which he rarely is.
Despite the easy dig on Pettis, McIntyre introduces a surprise factor that may just save him from preseason roster cuts: his impending season-opening sit-down for performance-enhancing drugs:
“Pettis is suspended for the first two games, and he has talent, so why release him at the end of training camp? Given the injuries the Rams had at the position last year, they may need him by Week 3.
Like any player looking to impress a new coaching staff – especially one as veteran as this, with WR coach Ray Sherman easily able to measure you on a scale of 0 to TO – all of the Rams’ holdover wideouts face a steep challenge to get back on the field.