With the first pick of the second day of the 2012 NFL draft, the Rams took a guy who could give ESPN an endless supply of obvious puns for the next decade. And the puns will be flowing frequently, if the assessment of Rams receivers coach Ray Sherman is accurate.
Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports, who spent Thursday and Friday parked in the team’s war room, writes that Sherman sees in Brian Quick similarities to another small-school wideout who had a huge impact in the NFL. “I see a lot of similarities to Terrell Owens,” Sherman, who coached Owens in Dallas, told Silver. “The way the kid goes and gets the ball, the physicality, the desire . . . he has a chance to be special, no doubt.”
Coach Jeff Fisher agreed, without comparing Quick to one of the best receivers — and biggest headaches — in league history. “He’s a tall, athletic, talented receiver,” Fisher said of Quick. “He’s got great speed and impressive ball skills. He might not be a big name, but we believe he’ll do some big things for us.”
The Rams secretly worked out Quick last week, along with four other receivers. The names of the other four leaked, with Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch initially reporting that the Rams had applied the eleventh-hour eyeballs to Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, and Kendall Wright. In hindsight, it’s hard not to wonder whether the Rams leaked those three names in the hopes of keeping the other two under wraps.
And now that the Rams have Quick and not Blackmon or Jenkins, they’re describing the glass as more-than-half full, explaining to Silver that the decision to get only a second-round pick to slide from No. 6 to No. 14 in round one after the Jags jumped the Rams to take Blackmon was easier to make because they thought they’d get Quick at the top of round two. (This doesn’t change the objective reality that the Rams got hosed on the trade, especially when considering what the Browns got for the sixth overall pick a year ago.)
It also remains impossible to know how Quick will respond at the NFL level until he’s on the field with NFL-caliber defensive backs. Though he reportedly blew the Rams’ brass away running routes and catching passes without a helmet or pads or, you know, competition, what if he can’t get off the line of scrimmage when facing press coverage, a la Desmond Howard? What if Quick develops a case of Todd Pinkston alligator body when a Pro Bowl safety is closing in on Quick’s cranium, 15-yard penalty and fine be damned?
So let’s wait to see what Quick — and every other drafted player — does at the next level before applying comparisons to players who have proven that they can perform. While it’s important to the annual process of selling hope to endlessly talk these guys up, the truth is that the passing of time will reveal that plenty of the guys simply can’t get it done when graduating from playing football with boys to playing football against men.