Jared Cook blocking for Bradford Photo by Jeff Curry/ USA Today Sports
3. Jared Cook
Heading into the offseason the St Louis Rams needed to surround quarterback Sam Bradford with some firepower on offense. One of the biggest surprises came when they signed tight end Jared Cook to a five-year $35 million deal.
Cook stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs 248 pounds, with wide receiver speed. The knock on him is that we have ever seen his full potential, as he was not fully utilized in Tennessee. But head coach Jeff Fisher is the one who drafted Cook when he was still in Tennessee and says he knows how to use the tight end.
People around the league still aren’t convinced if he is a tight end or and over sized wide receiver.
Bradford has no issues trying to figure out what position Cook plays as the talk coming out of training camp is the rapport Cook has built with his quarterback. Some observers are speculating that Cook is going to be Bradford’s security blanket now that Danny Amendola is no longer playing for the Rams.
With a five-year deal and no real certainty where he is going to line up on the field, the Rams are hoping he is just a mismatch for defenses regardless of where he lines up.
4. Sam Bradford
Bradford needed a strong line, so they signed tackle Jake Long. He needed weapons, they signed Cook and drafted wide out Tavon Austin. He needed consistency; offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is bringing back the same playbook, just expanding on it more.
The Rams quarterback no longer has any excuses.
Bradford is not one to makes excuses. He does everything possible to learn the playbook and even works out with his wide receivers during his football camp in Oklahoma every summer.
The Rams passed up on Robert Griffin III believing that Bradford could still be their franchise quarterback of the future. Although he did improve in his third year and did lead the Rams to a couple fourth quarter comebacks, he struggled when he reached the red zone and did not pull out any wins.
Although not many are expecting the Rams to make the playoffs, the organization is expecting Bradford to have them contending within the final weeks of the season.
5. Tavon Austin
The player under the most pressure to have a breakout season for the Rams is rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin.
Regardless if Austin was drafted No-8 overall or taken late in the first round, there is a lot of pressure for a wide receiver listed at 5-foot-8 taken in the first 32 picks to deliver.
Tavon Austin Photo by AP Photo/ Jeff Roberson
With Danny Amendola no longer around to play the slot position, the Rams are looking to insert Austin at that position. Not only are they expecting him to play in the middle, but they are also looking for him to field punts and even line up in the backfield.
The Rams traded up to get Austin because of his blazing speed. They are hoping he is able to put up video game numbers like he did at West Virginia.
The Rams are young at wide receiver and if Austin doesn’t turn out like they expect him to, they might be back to square one a year from now.