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In the 2008 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams made Houston University wide receiver Donnie Avery the first wide receiver to be taken in the draft.
Avery came into St. Louis and had an impressive rookie season, finishing the year with 674 receiving yards and three touchdowns, as well as one rushing touchdown.
Avery won the Rams' rookie of the year award, just edging out defensive end and first-round pick Chris Long for the honor.
After another season with impressive numbers in his second year, Avery entered his third season ready to take his game to the next level. However, a knee injury in the preseason sidelined the receiver for the entire 2010-2011 season.
Avery returned this preseason, looking to regain not only his 4.3 second speed, but also his spot on the roster. The 27-year-old had to compete with newly acquired receiver Mike Sims-Walker as well as Danario Alexander.
After missing the first preseason game due to knee soreness, Avery returned and impressed, finishing the preseason with 91 receiving yards and a touchdown
However, this was not enough and Saturday the Rams cut ties with the receiver, even though the receiver had one more season under contract. It was reported that the receiver had requested a trade and that the team had attempted to trade him, but could not find a suitor.
One of the main reasons that Avery was cut—other than the injury risk and a trade partner—would be his size. It is clear that new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels wants bigger receivers for quarterback Sam Bradford.
"Other than Danny Amendola, there is no wideout on the current roster under 6-0 and lighter than 205 pounds. Avery is 5-11, 192."
Size is not everything in the NFL, as there are plenty of examples of smaller receivers being successful in the league—Wes Welker is one that comes to mind.
Where Avery could not keep up in size, he could with speed, which is the main reason that the Rams drafted him in 2008. If Avery was able to return to the speed that brought him to the NFL, he could have still been a threat in St. Louis.
Although Avery was considered an injury risk, he was not the riskiest receiver that was on the roster, according to St. Louis Today:
"The news was better for Danario Alexander, who survived Saturday's cuts despite twice missing practice time in camp because of knee soreness. After five surgeries, his left knee probably isn't going to get any better, but the Rams apparently couldn't turn their backs on the heart and playmaking ability of the former University of Missouri star."
Both the Rams and Avery wanted a fresh start and they have both received their wishes, but with receiver Mark Clayton placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list, the Rams depth at receiver could be an issue.