Look at the Steelers; Hines Ward was a 3rd rounder and Mike Wallace was a 4th or 5th round pick.
It's looking more and more that you can win in this league without a true, true number one receiver.
Looking at Nick's mock both Hankerson and Young are available when Rams pick in the second round. Who is to say that one of these guys couldn't be a franchise receiver/
WHAT SAY YE?
I want a receiver we can rely on. All our receivers had their time last season yet non really consistently did it week in week out. Roddy White for example. He was the reliable WR down in ATL. On 3rd downs, Ryan knew where to look. Maybe Hankerson or Jones will be that guy for us. That guy that gets 8 catches a game, gets targeted 15 times, makes D coordinators lose sleep the night before they play us.
I wouldn't be mad with us drafting Hankerson at all. I am not a huge fan of Titus Young though.
But if you look at that Pro Bowl receiver roster, Roddy White, Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Bowe were all first round picks. That's 5 first round guys and 3 from all other rounds combined. Teams do find talent in the later rounds, but at least some luck is involved. If the team really expected a particular individual to be a future star, they'd never wait until the fourth round to pick him up. The success rate of first round picks--even though it is certainly not 100%--is still higher than the rate of any other round.
Jake Locker is the Dan LeFevour of this draft. Over-hyped and falling. He will be the 5th QB taken (or later).
Hated him last year, and even worse this year.
Pittsburgh has had Hines Ward as their #1 receiver for years, and are slowly transitioning to Mike Wallace. Wallace finished fifth in the league in receiving yards, no other Steeler cracked the Top 40.
Green Bay's leading receiver was Donald Driver for a few years, and I believe he went to a few Pro Bowls. Now they've transitioned to Jennings, who just this year finished fourth in the league in receiving yards and second in touchdowns. No other Packer cracked the Top 40.
You bring up New Orleans, but Colston is clearly their go-to guy. On top of that, the Saints used a first-round pick on receiver Robert Meachem in 2007, after Colston's break-out season.
As for the Patriots, they obviously recognized the value of having talent at the receiver position because they traded for Randy Moss and Wes Welker, and had one of the best offenses the league has seen and an undefeated season up until the Super Bowl.
Heck, let's go for another example with the Colts. They spread the ball around as well, but had a top receiving talent in Harrison for a while, then went out and got Reggie Wayne in the first round, THEN went out and got Anthony Gonzalez in the first round.
Teams can spread the ball around and still have a go-to #1 receiver. I think when you look at a number of those teams, the reason they spread the ball around is because they have a fair amount of talent at the position, not because they have mediocre at best talent and do it because no one stands out (which probably more accurately describes the Rams). If anything, many of these teams spread the ball around because they have multiple talented targets, at both receiver and tight end in some cases.
Yes, I generally agree that the pass rush trumps wide receiver. Of course, the Rams had a fairly good pass rush in 2010, ranking 7th in the league in sacks. They spent a second overall pick on a DE in Chris Long. So the pass rush has gotten some attention in recent years. The wide receiver position has largely fallen by the wayside; aside from spending a second round pick on Donnie Avery, the Rams have been trying to get by with the unwanted players from other teamsí rosters.
This doesnít mean Iím saying we go WR at all costs. If the value isnít there, donít do it. I recognize the importance of finding a future RDE. But the same argument being made for receivers Ė you can find them later in the draft Ė can be made for pass rushers as well. Jared Allen, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Trent Cole and examples that immediately come to mind. You can hit on any position later in the draft, but the chances of doing so become smaller so itís tough to bet on getting lucky and finding that guy.
Unfortunately the Rams only have so many picks to use, and a number of areas that could use help. Ultimately you have to determine which prospect is the best marriage between need and value. I think itís hard to argue that Jones wouldnít be one of the best combinations of both at that point.
Whether itís through free agency or the draft though, I think the Rams need to find a legitimate talent at the position. The defense, though it has faltered at times and still has some missing pieces, has demonstrated in a number of games that it can be good enough to win with. The offense needs to catch up, because too many times it failed to convert, failed to put enough points on the board, and just did not scare the opposition.
But there are teams out there who are going to fall in love with Lockerís ability and intangibles, and it only takes one team to make him a first rounder. Some coach is going to look at him and think, ďThatís a guy whose problems I can fix.Ē