The St. Louis Rams have an opportunity to be a real sleeper team in the NFL this season. The additions of Jake Long and Tavon Austin to the St. Louis offense have me giddy, and I’m not even a fan of the team.
It’s high time Sam Bradford lived up to his lofty potential, and I thought he showed more flashes of it last year. With an improved offensive line (greatly improved, at that) and a completely revamped arsenal of weapons offensively, I think he has a chance to do so.
The Rams’ defense also got a huge boost last season with the additions of Michael Brockers and Cortland Finnegan, and the team as a whole was able to co-lead the NFL in sacks. They improved that unit even further this offseason with the addition of rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree, who fell in the first round of the draft due to a DUI before the Scouting Combine.
With the roster the Rams have, I can’t say I’d be surprised if they won 10 games this year. Yes, they play in a very tough division with the 49ers and Seahawks, but they played extremely well within the division in 2013 and they are playing the 3rd place schedule in the NFC.
Here are three players I think could help the Rams get into the playoffs potentially, one from each of the last three draft classes that could have a breakout season.
Third Year — Austin Pettis, WR
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has reported that Pettis was arguably the “MVP” of Rams offseason workouts, and Pettis could be in line to see significant target increases in 2013.
This is a bigger receiver who was really productive in a spread style offense at Boise State, and I think in 2013, the Rams are going to sling the ball around quite a bit. Though Pettis could be the #3 receiver this year in St. Louis, it was difficult to pick who might break out from the class of 2011 due to the fact that Lance Kendricks is going to likely take a back seat to Jared Cook in the passing game, and Robert Quinn really has already emerged as an upper level pass rusher.
Therefore, I chose Pettis because he’s having a great offseason, and is drawing rave reviews from coaches and reporters. Here is what offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer had to say about his offseason so far:
“He’s probably having the best camp of all the skill players,” OC Brian Schottenheimer said. “He’s just a tireless worker. Very competitive. … He’s having a tremendous spring.”