Towards the end of training camp, we hear a lot of trade rumors. These rumors usually get too much attention because:
1. There aren’t many NFL trades.
2. NFL teams only trade someone at that time of the year if they have absolutely no use for him. There’s usually a very good reason why a player is available. He won’t help you.
All of that makes the Rams’ acquisition of former Ravens wide receiver Mark Clayton by G.M. Billy Devaney on September 6 more remarkable. Clayton was acquired for a move down in the 2011 draft from the sixth round to the seventh round. Essentially nothing.
For that price, Clayton has provided: 22 receptions, 300 yards, and two scores in four games. Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that Clayton ranks fourth in the NFL in receptions over 25 yards, with five. He’s producing like the guy Baltimore thought he was when they invested a first-round pick in him back in 2005.
“He made some great catches yesterday, didn’t he?” coach Steve Spagnulo said Monday. “Wow. He’s a . . . call him a gamer or
call him a clutch performer, whatever you want.”
This is a move that Devaney wouldn’t have made if not for Donnie Avery’s season-ending torn ACL. In that sense, the Rams are almost lucky.
They also are fortunate to have a rookie quarterback that can help bring the best out of a veteran receiver that the Ravens had no use for.