Coming into the 2017-18 NFL season, who could imagine the Los Angeles Rams would be hosting a playoff game, scoring the most points (coming all the way from dead, dead last in 2016-17), having an MVP candidate in Todd Gurley, getting Jared Goff in the Pro Bowl, and winning the NFC West crown.
Armed with limited draft capital (no first round pick), the Rams were somewhat handicapped with the ability to draft high end talent, further blocking the team from a quick rebuild. However, give credit to the Rams rookie class. They balled out and are a large part of the foundation of continued contending.
WR Cooper Kupp
Cooper Kupp lead the team with 869 receiving yards for the year. Finishing second on the team with 62 receptions, Kupp was more than just a “dink and dunk” option for Jared Goff, as he averaged 14.0 yards/reception. Kupp even scored five touchdowns for the Rams and was consistent during the year minus the odd fumble and drop passes at the goalline game.
Cooper Kupp owns the top grade among rookie WRs this season pic.twitter.com/j2WQ13qFEx— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 29, 2017
S John Johnson III
John Johnson III didn’t start the year as a starter but once he took the job, he never looked back. Starting out his career with a near pick-six touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks, Johnson continued to show his all-around game, finishing the regular season as the fourth leading tackler with 56 total tackles.
John Johnson!!!! That's my brother yall ✊ pic.twitter.com/zAwmAbfcOO— Darius Vito (@yungvitov) October 8, 2017
OLB Samson Ebukam
Samson Ebukam was a bit of a head-scratching pick for me when it occurred. While not a draft expert, I felt it was a bit too early for the athletic freak and collegiate teammate of Cooper Kupp. Ebukam filled in nicely for Connor Barwin and made key contributions on special teams. For the season, Ebukam ended with 26 total tackles and two sacks, including a forced fumble.
O primeiro sack da carreira do meu menino Samson Ebukam que ainda resultou em um fumble. O garoto entrou muito bem no lugar do Quinn— GoRamsBrasil (@GoRamsBR) November 14, 2017
TE Gerald Everett
The Rams first pick of the NFL Draft (in the second round), Everett paced the tight end group with two touchdowns. Raw and out of a small school, Everett showed bursts of playmaking while splitting the role with Tyler Higbee. For the season, everett finished with 244 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
rams are really creative with their personnel. bench concept with gerald everett running the 9 and robert woods running the out route. pic.twitter.com/cpg4owo9vi— charles mcdonald (@FourVerts) November 6, 2017
WR Josh Reynolds
Considered more of the “deep threat” rookie, Josh Reynolds had an opportunity to learn a bit behind the potent Rams receiver corp (4 players with 590 yards+ receiving). Reynolds earned a bit more time when Robert Woods was out and showed off the ability to be a strong, sure-handed possession receiver. Reynolds finished with 11 receptions, 104 yards, and a touchdown for the season.