Everybody knows we got a steal. How do you get the #58 ranked player in the league for a 5th or 6th rounder? According to the NFL Films' documentary The NFL's Top 100, there are only 9 or 10 receivers who rank ahead of Brandon Lloyd. The number depends on whether you view Devin Hester as a WR or a special-teams phenom. Consider this list of WR who rank higher than Lloyd, minus Hester:
- Andre Johnson
- Larry Fitzgerald
- Roddy White
- Calvin Johnson
- DeSean Jackson
- Reggie Wayne
- Dwayne Bowe
- Wes Welker
- Marques Colston
We just borrowed one of the Top 10 Receivers in the league for something close to nothing. Can't hurt, right? He's in a contract year too folks. He'll be on his best behavior.
There is just one catch: No contract has been signed. Lloyd is still set to become a free agent at the start of the new NFL business year. There are rumors we will get some form of compensation in the year 2013 if Lloyd does not resign with us. I am sure that will be a 7th rounder.
[Editor's note: I just a piece with Michael Lombardi on the NFL Network. He claims the Rams will be entitled to a 3rd round compensatory pick if Brandon Lloyd should scamper off into the ether in free agency. The logic behind the statement eludes me. If Lloyd is such a an esteemed performer by the league office, why did the Broncos deal him now (for a 5th) rather than wait for their 3rd rounder? This adds the fuel of mystery to the fire in Denver. Essentially, this makes it a no-lose proposition for the Rams. In the worst case scenario, we trade a 5th rounder for a 3rd and get to borrow Lloyd in the meantime... thanx!]
Unless something terrible happens, you can rest assured Brandon will catch 30 passes in the next 11 games. He may be targeted 10-11 times per game for the next 11 games. Brandon's biggest problem is that Sam Bradford has a high-ankle sprain, and that is a real problem.
We also got word that Mark Clayton may be coming off the PUP list as early as Thursday. It is doubtful that he will start or play much against the Cowboys, but he is getting better.
If Clayton returns strong, we have a decent shot at a decent finish. Clayton, Lloyd and rookie TE Lance Kendricks make a pretty decent trio of receivers. Certainly, this will be the strongest corp that Sam has had a chance to work with in his brief career. This is probably the best group we've had since 2006.
As a defensive coordinator, I wouldn't loose sleep over this group, but I wouldn't be thrilled by the prospect of facing them either. Lloyd is a serious threat. Kendricks is a mismatch problem. He's too big for a safety and too fast for a linebacker. You need to double him with one each. If you double Lloyd and Kendricks, Clayton will eat up yards and prosper.
The math is going to be different now, folks. The Rams are not going to be so easy to stop. Just don't expect the world against the Cowboys. That's just a little too soon for the whole picture to develop. There will be a couple of weeks of re-jiggering.
With that said, I wouldn't want to be the Cardinals on week 9. The machinery may mesh by week 9.
A strong finish is a problematic thing. The only good thing about loosing your first 5 or 6 games out of the shoot is that you are in position to claim one of the better prospects in the next draft. Even with Brandon Lloyd resigned, and we don't know if he will resign, we still have a desperate need for Justin Blackmon.
Blackmon, Lloyd, Clayton, Amendola and Kendricks would make a very nice receiver corp.