With the addition of Mark Clayton to the Rams' stockpile of receivers, who will shake out as starters in week 1? Who makes the final 53? And who is the hardest player to cut from the ranks? Here's a roundtable of opinions from the RamsHerd writers.
Brennan Smith (@BrennanJSmith):
- Sims-Walker - Gives the Rams the closest thing they have to a number one receiver.
- Danny Amendola - Bradford's security blanket and a catch machine.
- Brandon Gibson - Seems to be playing well in the preseason, front office went out of their way to get him last year.
- Austin Pettis - Devaney won't eat a third round pick regardless of Pettis' struggles. It takes a while to adjust to being an NFL receiver.
- Greg Salas - See Pettis, Austin.
- Mardy Gilyard - Finally seems to be grasping the playbook and is making a difference in the return game.
- Mark Clayton - Could begin the season on the PUP list but brings veteran presence valuable during lockout shortened offseason.
Toughest Cut: Alexander, who could become a Plaxico Burress type but has too many injury concerns.
Tim Shields (@Shields3L):
- Clayton - PUP reserve list until wk 6.
Toughest Cut: DX. He's a ton of talent, but his body just can't hold up. It is one of the worst places in the world to be as a football player. Your mind says go and your body says no. The upside is he may not draw much interest from around the league (he didn't last year remember). He could get cut and resigned down the road if someone goes down.
Maurice Walker (@FuturisticRam):
Austin Pettis - Just can't see cutting either of those draft picks so early after a truncated camp.
- Mark Clayton (PUP)
Toughest Cut: Hardest to cut was Dominique Curry for me. A great special teams player and an underrated receiver in my opinion.
Derek Pease (@SportsbyWeeze):
I think the the Rams keep 7 WR's and start the season with Clayton on the PUP list essentially giving them 8. I have (in this order):
- Gilyard - I think Gilyard is the last one in and Pettis is the last out.
- Clayton (PUP)
Toughest Cut: Pettis was the hardest decision for me. Essentially cutting loose your most recent 3rd round pick is not easy to do. But this needs to be a football decison, not a financial one. And Billy Devaney said it in the offseason, "we need to get better at every position and will continue to turn over talent until we get there." DX and Gilyard to me, offer much more explosive play potential that what Pettis offers.
Will Horton (@RamsHerd):
This was a very tough decision to make, and I could see a trade market for Donnie Avery or Mardy Gilyard opening up that might change this lineup. But if it's just "cut vs keep," here are my finalists.
- Gibson - Stepped up big time this offseason, and still has room to grow.
- Amendola - Will have to pry the starting slot position out of his cold dead fingers.
- Sims-Walker - Flashes of big-time talent. Could become the #1 in time, but doesn't need to.
- Avery - I think the Rams have been hiding him a little bit this preseason. Gives McD a different kind of weapon.
- Salas - Emerged as the better playmaker between the two WRs taken in the draft.
- Gilyard - A surprise, but earned second life with a strong camp.
- Clayton (PUP) - what happens when he returns?
Toughest Cut: Not Danario, as I believe the Rams could send him to the IR, as suggested by 101 Sports' Cliff Saunders. No, it's Austin Pettis, who I liked coming in to camp.
It's tough to justify cutting a rookie after such a short look, but if the addition of Clayton and other veterans up and down the lines show anything, it's that the team's commitment to youth only goes so far. You have to make plays in your time on the field, and while Pettis was doing it in practice, his game-time production has been trending downward week by week. Out of anyone, though, he has the best chance today to do something to change my mind.
1- Clayton - He didnt resign just to sit there on the PUP, unable to even pratice. He may not dress for week 1, but he will be out #1 receiver for MNF in New York in week 2.
2. MSW - A difference maker in the Red Zone.
3. Amendola - Bradford's safety valve.
4. Gibson - Primed for a breakout season.
5. Avery - Will see plenty of playing time, especially when we need to stretch the defense.
6. Pettis - Rookies will be rotated in, and see plenty of action in mop-up time. Will need to contribute on special teams.
7. Salas - Rookies will be rotated in, and see plenty of action in mop-up time. Will need to contribute on special teams.
CUT: Gilyard, Alexander, Curry