Some top-notch receivers are still available for Rams


BY ROGER HENSLEY
Friday, April 27, 2012

The Rams should be on the prowl for a wide receiver with at least one of their second-round picks this evening. Here’s a look at five of the projected top-ranked receivers left on the board. Player analysis provided by NFL.com.

Stephen Hill • Georgia Tech

Ht. 6-4 • Wt. 215

Strengths: Hill will be a legitimate deep threat at the next level. By recording nearly 30 yards per catch as a senior, he showed he was capable of going deep and scoring on every play. He consistently runs past corners on deep routes and is impressive at the point of the catch, as he is able to lay out for the ball or rise above his defender. Hill is a very good blocker who uses his length well and surprisingly doesn’t get off-balance often, something that is usually evident of players with his frame. Though it’s risky to throw early comparisons of Hall-of-Fame-caliber players on prospects that don’t even garner first-round consideration, Hill could remind some of Randy Moss when it comes to running a pure, one-on-one deep route.

Weaknesses: Hill’s value is based purely off his ability as a deep threat. He has average quickness and moves off the line of scrimmage to avoid a jam. He ran a very basic route tree at Georgia Tech that didn’t allow him to showcase many skills. Outside of catching jump balls, he struggles to read coverages and understand how to find holes in a zone. Hill looks uncomfortable with the ball in his hands and resembles a lengthy track star on the field instead of a football player. He dropped as many big balls as he made big plays; his YPC stat defines him perfectly as a player who is capable of making flash plays but isn’t reliable.

Rueben Randle • LSU

Ht. 6-4 • Wt. 210

Strengths: Randle is a tall receiver who displays good balance throughout his route and leans on his defender well to create separation. He is learning how to work routes downfield and is a strong catcher of both high and low balls. He has good flexibility and really came along as a junior with his overall field awareness and ability to diagnose coverages to find his spots in zones.

Weaknesses: Randle is still developing many of his skills and will be more of a prospect. He still looked uncomfortable running some routes and isn’t to a point where he is actively thinking about how to sell his corner on every play. He will take his eye off the ball across the middle and is inconsistent with his physicality.

Alshon Jeffery • South Carolina

Ht. 6-4 • Wt. 230

Strengths: Jeffery is a lanky prospect who uses his size well to make plays on the ball downfield. He has a massive pair of hands to go with his long arms and is an elite receiver once the ball is in the air. He has the anticipation and jumping ability to high point the ball over nearly any corner he faces. Off the line of scrimmage, he is non-explosive but uses his hands and a subtle jab step to keep defenders at bay. He can work into his route and get back on top of his defender after beating a jam. He will be a prime candidate for back-shoulder fades in the red zone.

Weaknesses: Jeffery is an elite jump-ball prospect, but he does not stand out as fast on tape and is such a long strider that at times he looks to be moving in slow motion. Speed will never be his game, but he needs to become more comfortable in his routes to work the corner and truly gain separation. The development of his route-running skills will be the key to his success. Jeffery was a bit uncoordinated early in his career and only began to look comfortable in his body toward the end of his collegiate career.

Brian Quick • Appalachian St.

Ht. 6-3 • Wt. 220

Strengths: Quick’s size is his greatest asset. His time playing football has been limited, and professional coaching could help mold Quick into a game changer at the next level. He is a reliable hands catcher who has the radius and grip strength to bring down any ball thrown near his area. He is a great option in the short game, as he understands how to use his frame to shield out smaller defenders.

Weaknesses: Inexperience is his Achilles heel. He hasn’t shown the ability to run by big-time corners at his level. He sometimes has trouble adjusting to poorly thrown balls. Being tested early in camp will give the greatest indication of Quick’s ability to handle the jump in talent.

Mohamed Sanu • Rutgers

Ht. 6-2 • Wt. 211

Strengths: Sanu is excellent working drive routes and across the field to read coverages and sit down in the holes of zones. He is a natural at shielding himself from defenders and giving the quarterback a clear throwing lane. He is a reliable hands catcher who is very technical at the top of his routes and when competing with corners to give himself space to secure the catch. Sanu is a throwback receiver who sees the ball when going across the middle. He is fearless in all aspects.

Weaknesses: Sanu is virtually nonexistent in the deep passing game. He is slow off the line and doesn’t have the speed to get behind NFL corners. He can get lazy in and out of his breaks downfield, and he almost loses interest in competing once the route gets deeper than 7 to 10 yards. He is not an explosive athlete with the ball in his hands and simply gets what he can after the catch.