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Countdown to Camp: Wide Receivers

Posted Jul 23, 2015

In the third installment of Countdown to Camp, team insider Myles Simmons takes a look at the Rams' wide receivers -- a position group primed with breakout candidates.

In our third installment of Countdown to Camp, team insider Myles Simmons takes a look at the Rams’ wide receivers. Be sure to send in your question about tomorrow’s subject, cornerbacks, either in the comments or to @MylesASimmons on Twitter.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Newcomers: Isiah Ferguson, Bradley Marquez, Daniel Rodriguez, Tyler Slavin

While the Rams return nearly all of their contributors from last year at wide receiver, there will be opportunities for those at the position to step up and make plays with new starting quarterback, Nick Foles.

The undisputed leader of the group, Kenny Britt returned to the Rams as an unrestricted free agent, signing a two-year contract in March. The 6-foot-3 wideout led St. Louis with 748 yards receiving last year, and his 48 catches were a career high. As Brian Quick has said in the past, Britt’s energy and enthusiasm for the game are critical for the offense.

Heading into his third season, Tavon Austin is a weapon not only on offense, but also on special teams. Offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti said during OTAs that Austin is a player defenses must account for due to the numerous ways he can make impact plays.

Quick and Stedman Bailey both made significant strides in 2014, and could potentially be strong targets for Foles this season. Quick, though, is still in the process of recovering from a major shoulder injury suffered Week 8 last year against the Chiefs. Once he’s fully cleared for his fourth NFL season, Quick will provide another 6-foot-3 downfield target for Foles.

Also entering his fourth year in the pros, Chris Givens will look to bounce back after what was a down 2014. Damian Williams returns as well, having appeared in two games for St. Louis last year.

Emory Blake and Devon Wylie both spent most of last season on the Rams’ practice squad. Blake, an Auburn product, will be entering his third NFL season. Wylie’s headed into his fourth year, and was signed to the Rams’ practice squad in October of 2014.

St. Louis added four rookie undrafted free agents -- Isiah Ferguson, Bradley Marquez, Daniel Rodriguez, and Tyler Slavin -- who will compete for a coveted spot either on the 53-man roster or on the practice squad. All four were accomplished receivers on the field at the college level, but Rodriguez stands out from the pack because of his service to our country.

After he was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device for his service in the Army,  Rodriguez began training and earned his way onto the roster at Clemson, where he was a heavy special teams contributor.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

In each of our Countdown to Camp posts, we’ll feature one of your Twitter questions on the position group. Today’s Q comes from @RAMdom_Haus.

When we last checked in with Quick during OTAs, there was still no set timetable for his return. Remember, that shoulder injury was so extensive that the wideout himself said it surprised him. Still, Quick’s rehab was going well and he was able to run routes against air -- so it’s not like he’s going to be completely unfamiliar with Foles whenever the receiver is cleared to fully participate.

That said -- and I realize this may sound a bit like a cop out -- my impression during OTAs was that Foles was clicking well with all of his receivers. Britt talked about Foles having a good sense of how a ball should be thrown in to each receiver on a certain route. Part of that comes from Foles and the receivers taking time to go out and throw during the earlier phases of the offseason program. And the quarterback talked extensively about how building relationships with the receivers was one of his biggest priorities for the offseason.

So, to answer the question, Foles could end up clicking with any number of receivers -- whether it’s Quick, Britt, Bailey, Austin, whoever. And don’t underestimate how consistent quarterback play can help out that receiving corps, as well.

Thanks for your question, Adam. Next up on the Countdown to Camp is cornerbacks, so if you've got a question about one of the Rams' corners or safeties, leave it in the comments or send it over to @MylesASimmons on Twitter.

COUNTDOWN TO CAMP - PREVIOUS POSTS

JULY 22 - LINEBACKERS
JULY 21 - SPECIAL TEMAS

The Rams will begin training camp with a 3:30 p.m. practice at Rams Park on Friday, July 31. For more information, visit our official training camp page.