Stedman Bailey is the fifth name to join the St. Louis Rams’ wide receiver depth chart. Prior to the 2013 NFL draft, the Rams had just three wide receivers who had caught any passes for them. They are filled with potential, but it hasn’t yet been fully realized.
Even if Chris Givens, Austin Pettis and Brian Quick are ready to take the league by storm, St. Louis needed more wideouts from a pure numbers standpoint—and the historically productive Tavon Austin and Bailey fit the bill.
Austin and Bailey combined for 228 receptions, 2,911 yards and 37 TDs in 2012. #RamsDraft
— St. Louis Rams (@STLouisRams) April 27, 2013
Stedman may not need to start right away, but as the nation’s leading touchdown catch artist in 2012—by a mile—he probably could. He hauled in 113 passes for 1,627 yards and 25 scores. Second place as a touchdown-maker was Clemson wideout DeAndre Hopkins, who produced 18 and was rewarded by being the Houston Texans’ first-round pick.
Bailey can make plays that will remind Rams fans of Brandon Lloyd, who spent a short time with the team but made his presence felt with some filthy catches.
While the addition of two dynamic weapons at the receiver position in St. Louis may cause fans to reference The Greatest Show on Turf, Austin and Bailey also serve as smaller comparisons to another pair of receivers.
The Cincinnati Bengals drafted two guys from the same school in the same class 12 years ago: Oregon State’s Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who also caught passes from a No. 1 overall pick in Carson Palmer (post-2003).
Johnson was drafted at No. 36 overall; Houshmandzadeh didn’t hear his name until the seventh round, at No. 204. Johnson rattled off four straight seasons of 1,000-plus yards with Housh across from him and Palmer under center.
T.J. kicked in two more like seasons of his own.
Austin was taken at No. 8, and Bailey was selected at No. 92, in addition to having their quarterback already installed and walking into a more passing-oriented NFL.
They’ll hope to out-produce their predecessors—even if the comparison is instead made to Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.
Jamal Collier is the St. Louis Rams draft correspondent for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @StatManJ.