Los Angeles Rams June Scouting Report
The NFL off-season continues to be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the 2020 Hall of Fame game and induction ceremonies being cancelled. Teams have been carrying on with very limited physical interaction and there is no guarantee the season starts on schedule. The Rams have many roster questions and the limited off season activity will make it difficult for them to address them properly. This report will give the current status of the Fantasy positions.
QUARTERBACK: QB Jared Goff is the Franchise quarterback with the big money contract. Goff led the team to the Super Bowl in 2018 but took a step back in 2019. With Gurley gone, Jared will be the unquestioned leader of the offense. He has the potential to be a solid QB1 but he needs help from his supporting cast.
RUNNING BACK: After cutting their franchise running back this off-season, the Rams will try to fill Gurley’s shoes with a combination of rookie RB Cam Akers, second year RB Darrell Henderson, and veteran RB Malcom Brown. Akers has the pedigree and draft capitol to eventually take over as the lead back; however, with the lack of practice time and preseason due to Covid-19, Los Angeles may start the season with the Fantasy dreaded RBBC. As the season progresses, Akers should be the bell-cow back and though he may never produce Gurley-like numbers, Cam could be a solid RB1.
WIDE RECEIVER: With the departure of Brandin Cooks, WR Robert Woods and WR Cooper Kupp should dominate the target share for receivers. Kupp produced top 10 Fantasy numbers in 2019 and should put up WR1 numbers again in 2020. Woods has been solid since joining the Rams in 2017 but 2020 could be his best season as a Ram. Robert is coming of back to back 1,000 yard seasons and if he can improve on his touchdown production, Woods will be a strong WR1. WR Josh Reynolds will get the first opportunity to replace Cooks and the 4th year pro has potential to produce low-end WR2 numbers; however, he could loose playing time to rookie WR Van Jefferson whom the Rams selected in the second round of the 2020 Draft. Jefferson is a polished route runner and has been compared to teammate Kupp. Hopefully these four receivers give Goff sufficient support.
TIGHT END: TE Tyler Higbee had a historic run towards the end the 2019 season with four 100-yard games in the last five games. Tyler finished the season with the most receiving yards by any Rams tight end in the history of the organization. If he continues to produce even close to that in 2020, Higbee could be a good TE1. Tyler’s success leaves TE Gerald Everett in limbo as he enters his contract season. Everett was supposed to be the star receiving tight end but an injury hindered his progress and allowed Higbee the chance to shine. 2020 will be a "prove it" year for Everett as Los Angeles drafted TE Brycen Hopkins in the fourth round and could go with him in 2021 rather than pay Everett on a new contract.
KICKER: The Rams have three kickers competing to take over for Greg Zuerlein and since PK Sam Sloman was drafted in the seventh round, he should be considered the favorite to win the job. Whoever is the Rams kicker should be counted on for solid Fantasy production.
DEFENSE: This unit lost key contributors from the 2019 season, most notably Cory Littleton and Dante Fowler Jr. Littleton led the team in tackles and Fowler was second in sacks. The team also let go veteran Clay Mathews so youngsters LB Samson Ebukam and LB Ogbonnia Okoronko will get the first shot to start at the two outside linebacker positions. Rookie LB Terrell Lewis has the skill and pedigree to be a great pass rusher but he must stay healthy (he missed a lot of time due to injury in college) and adjust to the speed of the pro game to reach his potential. LB Micah Kiser will be counted on to fill in for Littleton. Like Lewis, Kiser has a lot of potential but must stay on the field after missing all of 2019 with a chest injury. The defensive line is set with All-Pro DT Aaron Donald manning the middle and DT Michael Brockers returning to the Rams. FS John Johnson was playing at a Pro-Bowl level when he was placed on injured reserve. Second year SS Taylor Rapp is poised to start from day one and has Pro-Bowl potential himself. I am very interested to see how new DC Brandon Staley improves this unit. He had much success in Denver but I also liked former Ram defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
Normally this time of year, mini-camps are in progress and Fantasy Football is all a buzz; however, with the stupid pandemic, everything is uncertain, including the start of the NFL season. Of course the health and safety of the population takes precedence so please be safe and considerate of others. Keep the faith and persevere! Love and blessings to my family. Miss you Pops! Aloha!
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