This is part three of a nine part series previewing each position on the St. Louis Rams in 2015. They will go as follows:
1 – QB
2 – RB/FB
3 – WR/TE
4 – OL
5 – DL
6 – LB
7 – CB
8 – SS/FS
9 – Special Teams
Part Three – Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Wide Receivers currently on the Rams roster:
Tavon Austin – Austin hasn’t performed as well as expected through his first two seasons in the NFL, but with a new QB and new offensive coordinator, I believe Austin will have his breakout season this year.
Stedman Bailey – Bailey has seemed to produce more in the late games of the season; both in 2013 & 2014. Just like Tavon Austin, I think Stedman Bailey will have a big year for the Rams.
Emory Blake – Blake made the team as an undrafted free agent out of Auburn last season, and he didn’t see really any playing time. He will be battling for a roster spot again in 2015.
Kenny Britt – Britt was the Rams leading receiver last year. He had 748 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He’s also the most experienced receiver on the Rams roster, as he is headed into his seventh NFL season (second with the Rams). Britt will be a quality veteran in the locker room and should post another decent season this year with the Rams as he is a big body (6’3” 220 lbs.) and is a quality target in the deep passing game.
Isiah Ferguson – Ferguson was signed as an undrafted free agent this past spring. He played college ball at Arkansas-Pine Bluff and didn’t put up great numbers. He has great size at 6’4” 228 lbs. but will be battling for a roster spot with several others.
Chris Givens – When Givens was drafted in 2012, he had the best year of his career and since, hasn’t done much. Givens is looking for a bounce back year and will be one of the starters for the Rams at wide receiver.
Bradley Marquez – Marquez is another one of the UFA’s (Undrafted Free Agent) the Rams signed in the spring and will be fighting for a roster spot. He is small, being 5’11” 203 lbs. and if he were to make the team, it would be most likely via special teams.
Brian Quick – Quick was off to a great year in 2014, having 325 receiving yards and three touchdowns before suffering a torn rotator cuff and separated shoulder that ended his season. He is still rehabbing from the injury and will look to continue the brief success he had before the inury.
Daniel Rodriguez – Rodriguez is the ultimate feel good story. He served in the military in Iraq and promised his friend who later died in combat that he would play college football. And Rodriguez did just that. He played at Clemson and then signed with the Rams as an UFA in the spring. He’s fighting for a spot just like the other UFA’s but Rodriguez has likely won the hearts of all of Rams Nation.
Tyler Slavin – Slavin is an UFA out of New Mexico Highlands Univeristy, a D-II school. He played at the Univeristy of Arizona but transferred. Slavin is 6’2” 215 and was very productive at NMHU last year, having 1418 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. He will be battling for a roster spot but has a decent shot of making it.
Damian Williams – Williams is the second most experienced receiver on the Rams roster behind Kenny Britt, as he is headed into his sixth NFL season. Williams was signed midseason by the Rams last year and played in two games but had no catches. He is a veteran in the Rams WR core but there is no guarantee that he will make the final roster.
Devon Wylie – Wylie was drafted by the Chiefs in the 2012 NFL Draft and made the Chiefs final roster but since then, has spent time on several teams’ practice squads. He is very small at 5’9” 187 lbs. and is a decent punt returner and if he were to make the team, it would likely be as a kick/punt returner.
Tight Ends currently on the Rams roster:
Alex Bayer – Bayer is headed into his second NFL season. He made the team as an UFA last year and played in six games. He was more of a special teamer and blocking tight end than anything else and as long as he makes the team, he will be doing the same in 2015.
Jared Cook – Cook is the Rams number one tight end. He is the most experienced Rams tight end, heading into his seventh NFL season (3rd with the Rams). He had a career high in receptions last season. He looks to produce even more this year with Nick Foles at QB and a new offensive coordinator.
Justice Cunningham – The former Mr. Irrelevant went from the Colts to the Rams in 2014 and served as a backup and blocker on special teams. He will likely do the same in 2015.
Cory Harkey – Harkey saw lots of playing time in 2014, as he played at both tight end and fullback. Harkey is a quality blocker and can also catch the ball. He will again play a situational TE/FB role this season.
Lance Kendricks – Kendricks played in all 16 games last year and had a career high in touchdowns with five. Jared Cook sees more of the snaps at TE but the Rams also have lots of two tight end formations and Kendricks will see plenty of playing time in 2015.
Brad Smelley – This guy automatically gets my vote for best last name on the team. But Smelley was signed to the Rams practice squad last fall and it’s tough to see what role he will have with the team or if he will even make the 53-man roster.