The Los Angeles Rams have been a young team under Lester Snead’s guidance. Snead is a believer of having hoards of young talent, full of potential, hoping for development from the coaching staff. Now, on paper, the coaching staff can deliver these young players the expertise and opportunities to succeed.
While the rookie class was a bit smaller this year due to the Jared Goff trade, it seems the Rams have seen some early returns on their quality over quantity draft along with their free agent choices
TE Gerald Everett
Maybe it is early but Everett actually didn’t get a lot of run with the first team offense with Tyler Higbee and Temarrick Hemingway getting more snaps than him with Goff.
Rams TE snap count with Goff: Tyler Higbee 8, Temarrick Hemingway 2, Gerald Everett 1. Out of 8 plays.— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2017
However, despite this, Everett had a decent game with three targets and two catches for 12 yards. Everett had a unique ability to generate yards after the catch (YAC) and make people miss. He displayed both of those things in a limited sample size.
WR Cooper Kupp
Lead the team in receiving and scored the first of hopefully many touchdowns for the Rams (albeit on a fumble recovery). Kupp is as advertised and the hype may be real. The Rams have found a gem who runs good routes and has sure hands.
RECEIVING: Kupp 2-35, Cooper 2-25, Everett 2-12, Gurley 1-10, Brown 1-8, Davis 1-7, Woods 1-5, Higbee 1-3.— Joe Curley (@vcsjoecurley) August 13, 2017
Some had their doubts about Kupp but he impressed in his debut with sure hands and great route running. Kupp will likely be Goff’s security blanket as a big-bodied slot working the middle of the field with Tyler Higbee/Gerald Everett while the former Bills WR’s Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods work the outsides.
Rams WR snap count with Goff: Robert Woods 8, Pharoh Cooper 8, Cooper Kupp 5. Out of 8 plays— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2017
DL Tanzel Smart
With Aaron Donald on a holdout and Dominique Easley lost to a torn ACL, Tanzel Smart may be the biggest beneficiary for the 2017 season. Don’t let the draft position fool you, some “draft pundits” had Smart as high as 3-4th round talent who can lock down a 3-4 defensive end spot.
Omarius Bryant and Tanzel Smart both had two QB hits. Thompson, Longacre, OLB Morgan Fox and DT Louis Trinca-Pasat also had a QB hit apiece.— Joe Curley (@vcsjoecurley) August 13, 2017
Smart impressed last night with activity chasing the quarterback (albeit mostly against backups) and recovering one of the many fumbles from last night. The lineman from Tulane may have a chance to crack the rotation or even start if he continues to perform like he did last night against better competition.
McCown fumbles the ball away in FG range. Tanzel Smart recovers and the Rams take over with 2:32 left.— Joe Curley (@vcsjoecurley) August 13, 2017
Justin Davis really showed a lot of flash with 70 yards rushing. While he impressed with his running abilities, he also didn’t have a perfect game as he fumbled the football twice.
Former USC RB Justin Davis becomes the next Ram to cough up the ball. Austin Blythe makes LA 5 for 5 on loose balls tonight.— Joe Curley (@vcsjoecurley) August 13, 2017
Defensively, Kevin Davis stood out at linebacker co-leading the team with tackles.
CB Kevin Peterson, S Marqui Christian and LB Kevin Davis led the Rams with four tackles last night vs. Dallas.— Joe Curley (@vcsjoecurley) August 13, 2017
On paper, the Rams are paper thin at linebacker and there is opportunity for one to step up.
Last but not least, Ejuan Price looked very good as a relentless pass rusher. The kid from Pittsburgh just refuses to give up.
Ejuan Price looks absolutely awesome rushing the passer. This dude has a role immediately.— Sosa Kremenjas (@SosaNFLDraft) August 13, 2017
Price will likely carve out a nice role as a pass rushing specialist if he continues to show off his relentless motor and ability.
Overall, it was nice to see many rookies make an immediate impact. As the preseason continues on, some rookies may actually get less playing time as Coach McVay said he wanted the starters to get more run into the second quarter. Hopefully rookies like Kupp and Everett continue to get time with the starters while younger players like Smart, J. Davis and K. Davis impress with the backups to keep getting more and more looks.