Early draft preview: Rams' options at WR, TE

Tavon Austin (Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS — Sorry, Sammy Watkins fans. After selecting two wide receivers in each of the last three drafts, the Rams did not take a wideout in the 2014 NFL Draft, opting for offensive lineman Greg Robinson over Watkins with the No. 2 pick.

Coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead felt like the team had bigger needs — including beefing up the trenches and replenishing their depth in the defensive secondary — than to add another wide receiver to the mix that they already had returning.

But will that strategy pay off for St. Louis? We’ll see. Robinson looks like he’ll be a big upgrade for the offensive line, but fans will certainly keep an eye on how Watkins performs in Buffalo.

The Rams, who haven’t taken a tight end in the draft since picking Lance Kendricks in the second round in 2011, haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since Torry Holt hit that mark way back in 2007. Yes, the Scott Linehan era of Rams football.

Is the Rams’ next 1,000-yard receiver currently on their roster or will they be looking for that player in the 2015 NFL Draft?

As part of our early look at the prospects potentially available in next spring’s draft, we take a look at the NFL Draft Report’s early grades for both wide receivers and tight ends.

The Rams are stocked at both positions for 2014.

At wide receiver, St. Louis goes into training camp with a mix of Chris Givens, Austin Pettis, Tavon Austin, Brian Quick, Stedman Bailey, Kenny Britt and T.J. Moe among others.

At tight end the Rams have Jared Cook, Kendricks and Cory Harkey and then guys like Justice Cunningham and undrafted rookie Alex Bayer trying to earn a roster spot.

Most of those players are under contract for 2015. Britt, Pettis and Kendricks will be unrestricted free agents after this season, while Harkey will be a restricted free agent.

If the Rams let those players leave via free agency, they’ll have plenty of options to replace them through the draft.

Alabama’s Amari Cooper and USC’s Nelson Agholor are both established playmakers in the best two conferences in college football. If he declares for the draft, Oklahoma’s Dorial Green-Beckham is an intriguing option as a bigger wide receiver, though he is still kind of raw as a receiver and has obvious off-the-field questions following his dismissal from Missouri.

As for tight end, the Rams could opt for a pass catcher like Michigan’s Devin Funchess or Florida State’s Nick O’Leary or a bigger blocker-type.

More early draft preview stories:

Rams have options at RB

Will Rams need a QB?

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com.

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