St. Louis Rams: Austin and Bailey Are the Answer for Waiting Rams' Fans

Ryan BothmannSenior Analyst IIApril 27, 2013

MORGANTOWN, WV - SEPTEMBER 29:  Stedman Bailey #3 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates his forty seven yard touchdown catch in the first half with Tavon Austin #1 against the Baylor Bears during the game on September 29, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Rams just don't have enough weapons on offense to help out quarterback Sam Bradford.

Is there a single soul in St. Louis who is not tired of hearing that exact phrase? If so, then you are obviously not a Rams' fan because for years, that is all fans in St. Louis have heard.

Ever since the departures of Issac Bruce and Torry Holt, the Rams have failed to address their massive need for a true No. 1 wide receiver. Frankly, the Rams really haven't even tried to fill that void, but instead have decided to look in other directions as Bradford has constantly struggled to find open receivers.

Now, the wait is finally over for St. Louis fans. The Rams not only have a significant threat at wide receiver, but have a multitude of receivers who can make plays down the field.

The process started last season when the Rams acquired Brian Quick and Chris Givens in the draft. Quick, did not play much last year, but is still a big target for the Rams and they believe he will develop into a great receiver. Givens proved that he is a huge threat to go downfield and make plays because of his outstanding speed.

The process of finding big-time playmakers for the offense continued into free agency when the Rams picked up tight end Jared Cook. Cook is a massive body who can extend the middle of the field and also prove to be a major threat inside the red zone, something the Rams desperately need on their roster.


The process of finding offensive playmakers continued into the draft on Thursday night, and the Rams did not mess around with getting the guys they wanted.

St. Louis traded up to grab Tavon Austin on Thursday night and the Rams left St. Louis fans jumping for joy when they acquired his West Virginia teammate, Stedman Bailey, late in the third round on Friday night.

Initially, some fans may look at the move and find it strange that the Rams drafted two very similar players. Austin and Bailey are both very small players who both would fit well in the slot and use their speed to get open over the middle and extend the field on deep routes. They also compare closely to Chris Givens, who is already on the Rams' roster.

Is it a problem then that the Rams' top three receivers appear to be mirror images of one another?

Absolutely not.

Look at what the Green Bay Packers have done over the past few years. Guys like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones and even Greg Jennings (now with the Minnesota Vikings) are all very similar types of players. They certainly have not had any trouble with their offense over the past few seasons.

The other thing to note is that while Givens, Austin and Bailey are all small and will use their speed to get open downfield, they each have major characteristics that set them apart from one another.


Givens will line up more on the outside then guys like Austin and Bailey. He can use his speed to extend the field down the sideline and run great play action routes downfield.

Austin will be a player similar to Desean Jackson, but will likely run a lot of his plays out of the slot. He will use his speed to get open over the middle, much like Danny Amendola. Rams' fans will frequently see tight end Jared Cook go deep over the middle to clear out space for Austin to slip in underneath on short routes, using his speed and elusiveness to make huge plays for the Rams.

Bailey will also use his ability to catch the ball in traffic, allowing him to run deep routes from out of the slot and down the sideline. His ability to catch the ball so well in traffic is rare in a small receiver like Bailey, but that will allow the Rams to throw the ball to him in one-on-one situations so that he can make plays.

The Rams have done an outstanding job in addressing their need for offensive help over the past two seasons. Although they have many small receivers on their roster, the Rams should not have issues finding open targets. The Rams' receivers know how to get open in coverage, and once they get the ball in their hands, they are some of the most electric young players in the NFL.

St. Louis no longer has any more excuses about not having enough offensive playmakers for Bradford. Help has finally arrived, and Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey are ready to show the rest of the NFL their talents.

Hopefully, in 10 years, the names of Austin and Bailey will be just as meaningful and synonymous as the names Bruce and Holt are to Rams fans right now.