After improving from 30thto 18thin passing yardage this season — with three pass catchers registering at least 666 receiving yards (WRs Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson and fourth-round rookie Chris Givens) — does wide receiver still shape up as the Rams’ No. 1 draft need for the second season in a row?
“It’s right up there,” one team insider said. “You’ve got to score points, and they still really need another playmaker, even if Amendola (one of 13 pending unrestricted free agents) comes back. If neither he nor (UFA) Gibson, who had a career year, don’t re-sign, then you’re suddenly down to three guys — Givens, (second-round rookie Brian) Quick and (second-year pro Austin) Pettis.”
The big issue with Amendola remains his penchant for injuries. After a separated SC joint (clavicle) and foot injury sidelined him for five games and limited him in three others, the fact he has suited up for a total of only 12 games the past two seasons is major cause for concern.
“Had he stayed healthy, he probably would have had something like 100 catches and 1,100 yards — No. 1 WR-type numbers,” the insider said. “But they’re hesitant to cut a long-term deal for him.”
Could Givens, who had a catch of 50-plus yards in five consecutive games, be a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the making?
“That’s a great question,” the insider said. “He got more attention on deep balls and got better running shorter routes, but I’m not ready to say just yet that he can be a No. 1 guy.”
While Quick, who was drafted two rounds ahead of Givens, struggled mightily to adjust to the pro level after playing at FCS Division I Appalachian State, Pettis made major strides as a dependable red-zone target as the season wore on.
“He has his pluses and minuses,” the insider said of Pettis, a third-round pick in 2011. “He has very good hands and long arms, but he’s not very physical. He did develop a chemistry with (QB Sam) Bradford. I could see him being the main slot receiver if Amendola moves on.”