The Los Angeles Rams are known as an offensive threat. Guided by a still young head coach, Sean McVay, who has a penchant for flair in his offensive designs especially through the air. He continues to have great tools at the core of his wide receiver corps. Training camp will decide who may rise as the cream of crop, and which players will be QB Jared Goff’s go-to weapons in 2020.
We at Rams Talk, prior to training camp, will preview each of the wide receivers and what they may bring to camp in order to try and win a spot on the team.
It’s hard to not like what Los Angeles brings back as Goff’s wideouts this season as each possesses speed, hands and good open field instincts. Goff seems quite comfortable throwing to anyone of them at any time.
Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds are the core of the wide receiver depth chart and should lead the team out of camp.
Woods is the dean of the room with eight years of NFL experience. He continues to lead by patience, production and perseverance. He has caught 86 of 90 passes the last two seasons and has become Goff’s redzone receiver. He rarely can score from outside that zone, but he isn’t needed for that because of the rest of the roster’s talent.
Kupp is the team’s possession receiver. But if you can’t find him on the field, like Goff surely can, it’s because he will be wearing No. 10 this upcoming season. Kupp can receive passes anywhere on the field and his run-after-catch abilities are quite good. With his speed, once he breaks into the open he can’t be caught, as seen in his 10 TDs last season, which was good enough for second in the league for wideouts.
Reynolds has been an amazing substitute for injured Rams in the past, and Goff seemed to be instantly comfortable with him in the game. With Brandin Cooks no longer on the team, this would seem to be the year for Reynolds to bust out and become a major producer in the offense.
Reynolds is in his contract season this year and can play the X, Z and slot positions fairly easily, and because of McVay’s confidence in him, it made it easier for the team to trade Cooks.
Rookie Wide Receiver
Van Jefferson – University of Florida Gators – Second Round Draft Pick
With so many receivers in camp, Jefferson can’t rest on his laurels, not even as a second-round draft pick in the 2020 draft. With possibly six spots open on the team, Kupp, Woods, Reynolds are locks to make the team. But it is with Reynolds place on the depth chart that the real competition begins.
Jefferson’s pedigree and work ethic helped get him chosen with the 57th pick should not allow lapses in his workouts, learning and enduring himself to the team. He will use what he has learned since his playing days began.
“I think that’s something I harp on, that I take pride in, my route running. Just being an all-around receiver, man, just doing everything a receiver does and being the best player you can be.
Jefferson also said that he will try to be confident, know his abilities and try to get under the veterans and learn from them, see how they do things by picking the brains of Goff, Woods and Kupp.
Nsimba Webster and Greg Dortch are two receivers that spent some time under contract with the Rams last season, and are returning looking for another crack into the full-time 53-man roster.
Webster played five games with the team as a return artist, getting nine returns in for 75 yards. He did not play any offensive downs while as an active player.
Energy and desire has never been a problem for Webster. He played behind Kupp in college, and then replaced him when Kupp left for the Rams. He sees himself as a team leader and is trying to find that with the Rams.
Dortch was picked up by the Rams in December 2019 after both the Jets and Panthers waived him from their respective teams. He has not played a down for the Rams.
In college, Dortch was named an All-American as a return specialist, backed by two punt returns for touchdowns in one game against Towson State, an ACC and school record.
Undrafted Free Agent Signees
Webster was able to show the way last season on how to make a Rams roster coming out of training camp. This year, four wide receivers were signed on the last day of the draft, while each brings different tools each hope to be the “Webster” of this season’s camp.
Easop Winston Jr., Earnest Edwards, Brandon Polk and JJ Koski all bring varying speed on the field with Polk the fastest at 4.28 in the 40-yard dash, while the others come in bunched together in the 4.4 range.
Koski comes from a college offense that featured a triple option playbook, and has played the slot for the most part. With Reynolds moving around the field is the slot an open position?
Polk feels like his blazing speed might make him the speed guy the team has been looking for, and particularly as a kick return specialist as he did at James Madison University.
“Punt returner, kick returner is something they needed as well as a receiver,” said Polk. “They got rid of Brandin Cooks, their speed guy, so it definitely felt like that was the spot to go.”
Edwards brings some versatility to camp as he can throw the ball as well, throwing four TDs in his senior season. He prides himself in his blocking, always a key component in the passing game and his special teams play.
“I’m trying to come in and be at least in the top six receivers,” said Edwards. “And then special teams, I know they need a kick returner and punt returner, so I’m trying to go in there and take that spot, too.”
Winston has the knack, ability and tools to be a great pass catcher in the likes of Kupp. He is known to have “gargantuan hands” and hands like “oven mitts,” according to his college coach Mike Leach.
The proof is in the pudding as Winston was thoroughly impressive over the two years he spent at WSU and his 137 pass catches, 1,624 yards and 19 TDs.
Whatever the Rams decide to do, the Rams training camp will certainly be entertaining, hopefully injury free and the best six will help lead the team through the air.