Over the past few months, there has been much speculation as to whether or not Los Angeles Rams new Head Coach Sean McVay can (finally) turn WR Tavon Austin into the offensive weapon he was drafted to be. Many, who hope to draw parallels to McVay’s former corps of receivers in Washington, feel there’s a chance Austin can finally become a deep threat receiver, a la WR DeSean Jackson.
McVay will undoubtedly integrate a vertical threat into his offense, but don’t bank on it being Austin. Rather, look for rookie WR Josh Reynolds - a fourth-round 2017 NFL Draft pick out of Texas A&M, to test defenses deep in 2017.
At 6’3”, Reynolds is the tallest of all the Rams receivers, but size isn’t the only thing he possesses.
WR Robert Woods, who the Rams acquired in free agency, will immediately step in as the team’s “Z” receiver (flanker). One of the more interesting offseason position battles, and this could run well into the regular season, is between Austin and rookie WR Cooper Kupp — both of whom are fit for the slot receiver role.
The “X,” or split end, looks to have been a battle between Reynolds and WR Mike Thomas, who the Rams selected in the 6th round of the 2016 draft. Thomas will miss the first four games of the 2017 season after being suspended for use of performance enhancing substances.
And what looked to have been a relatively tough test for starting snaps was just made a little simpler for the rookie.
I expect to see Reynolds take the field in Week 1 and, given his abilities, I expect him to impress. He’s got the size and speed necessary to be a vertical threat, but he also possesses a large catch radius and the physicality needed to win contested catches — making him a valuable weapon in the red zone.
Reynolds has the tools to do it all. If you’ve got 10 minutes, watch this highlight reel from his senior year. If you don’t have the time, here are a few GIFs of Reynolds displaying some skills (sorry Google AMP and Apple News users):
(✓) Get off. Get Open. One-handed grab
(✓) Speed, ball tracking needed by a boundary receiver
(✓) High Point, Catch Radius
(✓) Mismatch nightmare/Red Zone beast
(✓) Concentration through the catch
Chances of Making Final Roster (10/10)
Not only is he going to make the roster (duh), but look for Reynolds to contribute in a big way on Sundays this fall.