Rams: West Virginia receivers on different paths
The St. Louis Rams had high hopes when they drafted West Virginia wide-out Tavon Austin eighth overall in 2013. The dynamic Austin was expected to excel in Brian Schottenheimer’s offense, due to its reliance on short, quick passes and Austin’s breakaway speed when in space. Unfortunately, Austin has somewhat struggled so far during his time in St. Louis. He has contributed just 604 receiving yards, 295 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns on his way to an underwhelming -9.5 receiving grade for his career to date. Nor is Austin generating the extra yards with his feet that was expected, his 4.8 yards after catch per reception ranks 41st out of 111 qualifying receivers this year.
However it is the other Mountaineer from the Rams’ 2013 draft class who is impressing right now. Taken in the third round, Stedman Bailey has caught the eye with 15 receptions for 215 yards and one touchdown in the last three games; good for a +6.1 receiving grade. Across that three game span Bailey ran 49.3% of his routes as a Slot Receiver, with a perfect 100% catch rate, and a hugely impressive 3.55 yards per route run. That’s the sort of reliable production that should make Bailey difficult to shift from the line up.