Nearly every year under former Head Coach Jeff Fisher, the Los Angeles Rams boasted the youngest roster in the NFL. Partly due to undertalented player turnover and partly due to the overwhelming quantity of draft picks, the Rams were constantly stocked with players fresh out of the college ranks.
So it’s a bitter pill to swallow when Elliot Harrison puts together his All-Under-25 team for NFL.com and nary a Ram is to be found.
No Jared Goff
Last year, the Rams traded up to the #1 spot in the 2016 NFL Draft to take Jared Goff. Obviously given his atrocious rookie campaign, he’s not on the list. He’s not in the running. The clear issue here is that the Rams invested HEAVILY in a franchise QB that new Head Coach Sean McVay is forced to rescue in order to return a semblance of competitiveness to this team.
Obviously until we see if McVay can execute that rescue, it’s unknown whether or not Goff will be a long-term solution for the Rams. But to trade up for a QB at #1 overall and not even be in the discussion for the best QB in his age bracket let alone anywhere near the top tier in the league is...not great, Bob.
Goff turns 23-years old in October.
No Todd Gurley
No, with Gurley doesn’t make the top two running back slots just for under-25 RBs. Those instead go to Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott and Chicago Bears RB Jordan Howard. Gurley does get an honorable mention though:
The debate here is between Howard and Todd Gurley. Went with Howard, despite the fact that Gurley might be more gifted in terms of physical measurables. As fantastic as Gurley was during his rookie year, Howard was better. He ran for more yards, caught more passes and averaged more yards per carry than Gurley. Howard was an every-down, productive back -- in an offense that struggled through the air.
Gurley went into last season aboard a pretty special hype train with a term like “legend” being thrown around and gracing a magazine cover headlined “The Offense Strikes Back.” Gurley averaged 55 yards per game, and the Rams’ offense ranked 32nd in the NFL in yards and scoring. Go back and look at how Rams fans felt about Gurley going into last season.
There’s legitimate reason to worry that Gurley’s last 24 games are going to be the norm.
That’s a lot of players on the Rams’ roster under 25 years of age. Outside of Gurley, none even approaches Harrison’s list.
With Jeff Fisher the current scapegoat for the Rams’ ills in recent years, many of these players are removed from the level of criticism they deserve for their performances on the field. Should those performances continue into 2017, there won’t be any Jeff Fisher to shield them from disdain (though already GM Les Snead has picked up the slack on that front).
In the end, the lack of quality to match the quantity on the Rams’ roster of under-25 players is ultimately what McVay is going to have to solve in order to turn the Rams into a winning team. Doing it with the current roster is likely an impossibility.