Austin Pettis became the newest Ram when he was selected with the 78th overall pick on Friday night. Without a doubt, Pettis comes from one of the most prolific offenses in the country at Boise State. Boise State ranked second in the nation last year in scoring.
The 6’3, 209 lbs senior, served as the number- two wide receiver behind the newest Detroit Lion, 44th overall pick Titus Young. Literally, Young wore #1, Pettis wore #2, and the pair made the offense go. Now they each have a chance to jump-start two NFL teams that are on the rise.
With the pick, the Rams add a fantastic route-runner, with size and great catching ability. They also add a football player that produced four straight years. With 46 catches as a freshman, 49 as a sophomore, 63 as a junior and 71 as a senior, Pettis leaves Boise State as the all-time leader in receptions with 229 receptions. He is also the school’s all-time leader in touchdown catches. He finished his senior season with 71 catches for 951 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Pettis’s most valuable attribute to this team will be his play making ability in the red zone, which is something the current wide receiver corps lacked last year. Of his 10 touchdowns last year, 8 came in the red zone.
Video Highlights: Boise State vs Virginia Tech
I first became fond of Pettis in week one of the college football season. Pettis and his Boise State Broncos were playing a highly-anticipated game against the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Broncos led by three early on in the game, when Virginia Tech stood 4th and 15 at their own 16-yard line (Ffwd to 1:45). Pettis would block the Virginia Tech punt. Two plays later, Boise State quarterback, Kellen Moore hit Pettis for an 8-yard touchdown. Just to finish the job, Pettis would hold for the extra point.
That’s a playmaker folks! It’s what this team needs. Pettis would lead all Boise receivers that night with 6 catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns. Oh, and Pettis’s second touchdown was the game winner with 1:09 left to go in the game (Ffwd to 7:14).
The only criticism on Pettis has been directed at his speed. Jon Gruden said of Pettis after the pick, “he’s going to have to prove that he can run at the next level”.
Perhaps the criticism is on target. Pettis’s 40-yard dash time of 4.61 ranked towards the bottom of the receivers invited to the combine. However, his three-cone drill time of 6.68 was one of the best times and his 20-yard shuttle of 3.88 was the best time for any receiver at the combine. Both drills suggest a great ability to change directions, which is a great ability to have for a slot receiver.
Despite his 40-time, I think Pettis will line up at different positions in this offense. A 4.61-40 can work in this offense. Just ask Josh McDaniels' go-to receiver in Denver, Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd’s 4.62 40-yard dash didn’t stop him from snagging 77 catches last year for 11 touchdowns and a league-leading 1,448 yards.
I believe the Rams did a superb job with this pick. Time will tell.