Friday, October 15, 2010

Rookie receivers will try to step up

With the unfortunate injury to the Rams' wide-receiver Mark Clayton, there are some shoes to fill at receiver. Clayton, a former 1st round pick for the Baltimore Ravens, was acquired by the Rams just before the start of the season. Clayton was meant to be the replacement for the injured Donnie Avery. Clayton was a more than suitable replacement, racking up 306 yards and 2 touchdowns throughout the first four games. However, last week against the Detroit Lions, Clayton left the game with a serious knee injury, and he will not return for the rest of the 2010 season.

Avery started the season as the number one receiver, then Clayton took over, so now the Rams will be looking for their third "number one" receiver only five games into the season. Danny Amendola figures to be the most talented receiver at this point, but he fits well in the slot, and doesn't have to size to line up on the outside.

Brandon Gibson is the receiver that needs to step up. At 6'0" and 210 lbs, Gibson has the size to play on the outside. He also has the potential to be a decent red-zone threat (although his height is not as ideal as his weight).

Other than Gibson, and Amendola, the Rams will be focusing on their rookie receivers. Mardy Gilyard, the Rams' 4th round draft pick in 2010, has seen some playing time at kick-returner, but he does not have much playing time at receiver. Gilyard has only five catches on the season, for 42 yards. Gilyard has the moves to become a big play threat, but he has not been able to turn his potential into game-day production as of yet.

The more interesting option, as far as rookie receivers, is Denario Alexander. Alexander is an undrafted free-agent out of Mizzou; it is widely believed that Alexander would of received a late 1st-4th round draft grade, had it not been for his troubling history with knee injuries. In 2009, Alexander led the NCAA in receptions (113), as well as receiving yards (1781), and he also had 14 touchdowns. He has ideal speed (4.4 40-yard dash) and size (6'5" 215 lbs) to be a solid down-field threat, as well as a big red-zone threat.

Alexander was activated from the Rams' practice squad, to the 53-man roster. The promotion took place on Monday, as a result of Clayton's injury. Head-coach Steve Spagnuolo said that the Rams' trainers are comfortable with Alexander's knee, and believe he is ready to see action. According to Alexander, his knee feels better than it did during last season at Mizzou.

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