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2018 Los Angeles Rams Roster Preview: Tight end unit preview

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It was Rams Head Coach Sean McVay’s position he coached up the ladder to become a head coach in the NFL. It was also the weakest position on the offense in 2017. Confused? Us too.

LA Rams QB Jared Goff convenes with TE Gerald Everett during a Week 13 game against the Arizona Cardinals, December 3, 2017.
LA Rams QB Jared Goff convenes with TE Gerald Everett during a Week 13 game against the Arizona Cardinals, December 3, 2017.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
TE Gerald Everett: 10/10
TE Tyler Higbee: 10/10
TE Temarrick Hemingway: 9/10
TE Johnny Mundt: 5/10
TE Henry Krieger-Coble: 1/10
TE Codey McElroy: 0.1/10

What happened to the tight end position in 2017?

Heralded as a position of strength due to (a) Head Coach Sean McVay’s arrival given his history coaching the position and (b) Everett as the first pick in the Rams’ haul from the 2017 NFL Draft, many Rams fans including yours truly expected the tight end position to be one the Rams leaned on last year throughout the season. Instead, it became an afterthought and the least utilized/worst unit on the offense.

Was it simply a factor of upgrades among the wide receivers and offensive line allowing for greater explosiveness elsewhere along with the growth of QB Jared Goff and RB Todd Gurley? Was it a lack of talent and experience among the tight end depth chart?

And maybe what’s most fascinating is where we stand now.

Will anything change in 2018? Does it need to? If the Rams’ offense is cranking again in 2018 and the tight ends are more or less an afterthought over a 16-game stretch and don’t condemn the team in the postseason, is anything wrong with that?

Is that what we should be prepared for in 2018?

Roster battle

It’s an interesting depth chart. Higbee led the group in targets, receptions and receiving yards. Most importantly, he led the group in playing time by a WIDE margin. T-Higs was on the field more than 70% of the snaps while Everett played less than 30% of the snaps. Last year’s TE3, Derek Carrier, came in under 20%. How Hemingway’s return after missing all of last year with a broken leg is TBD. And we’ll have to see if any of the deeper depth impresses over the next month.

Expectations

Well it’s the lowest among the offensive groups. And perhaps that’s what serves them best is the space to exceed expectations which no other group really enjoys.

It might well just come down to Everett. The 44th overall pick 16 months ago, he might have more potential to improve on his 2017 than anyone on the offensive roster.