The Big Question: Will Tavon Austin transform the Rams' offense?
That playmaker, of course, was Tavon Austin, who the Rams landed at eighth overall after trading up. It was a no-brainer move for a franchise that desperately needed to give Sam Bradford a wide receiver who could impact games. Danny Amendola showed flashes of that ability when healthy, but he took his act to Foxborough. Austin presents an upgrade with a Percy Harvin-level ceiling.
The Rams fully will explore ways to take advantage of Austin's explosiveness. Expect to see him lined up on both the inside and outside as a receiver. We're sure to see some backfield sets as well.
Austin also can be an elite return man, though the Rams must be careful not to over-extend one of the smallest players in the NFL.
- Austin was a great selection, but don't sleep on the Rams' other first-rounder. Alec Ogletree, the 30th overall pick, is another player with star potential. The inside linebacker is a converted safety who will be a huge asset on the coverage end. San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis' job just got a lot tougher against the Rams.
Which rookie will stand out in 2013?
Will Tavon Austin rise to the head of the class this season -- or will someone else step up? Our analysts debate. More ...
- For those scoring at home, the Rams' bounty in last year's blockbuster RG3 trade now includes: defensive tackle Michael Brockers, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, running back Isaiah Pead, offensive tackle Rokevious Watkins, Ogletree and a first-round pick in 2014. It's a nice haul to be sure, but the trade is a failure for general manager Les Snead if quarterback Sam Bradford fails to fulfill his potential. Which leads us to ...
- The time is now for Bradford. He has the weapons. He has the faith of the decision-makers. Now he needs to make the leap. There will be no excuses.