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2019 Los Angeles Rams roster preview: WR/KR/PR JoJo Natson, your life is calling

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The diminutive Natson is the shortest player on the Rams’ roster. Blink and you might miss him.

Los Angeles Rams WR/KR/PR JoJo Natson returns a punt against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII, Feb. 03, 2019.
Los Angeles Rams WR/KR/PR JoJo Natson returns a punt against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII, Feb. 03, 2019.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams WR/KR/PR JoJo Natson doesn’t have the size. Never has. Never will.

Don’t think that’s going to stop him, though.

A 2017 undrafted free agent, Natson originally got scooped up by the Indianapolis Colts before joining the New York Jets for that season as their lead kick returner. Last offseason, Natson was released giving the Rams the opportunity to pick him up heading into training camp. While Natson was used sparingly as a kick returner, he was the Rams’ lead punt returner last year.

Natson doesn’t have the size.

Doesn’t need it, either.

Roster Battle

It’s tough to know. Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel is one of the best in the business. He’s been able to consistently create an environment for returners to thrive. Former backup RB Benny Cunningham was among the league leaders in kickoff return averages in 2015 and 2016. A year later, WR Pharoh Cooper led the league in kickoff return average and was second in punt return average receiving a Pro Bowl nomination.

So we know that the environment is set up for success. Who might challenge Natson for reps as a returner? Who might Fassel look to try out either on kicks or punts?

The Rams’ primary kick returner last year was Cooper from the outset, but he injured his foot in Week 1 and missed significant time. He was replaced by Blake Countess until Cooper returned; the Rams released Cooper late in the season going back to Countess and Natson down the stretch. But neither Cooper nor Countess are around anymore.

We’ll just have to see if a roster battle develops at the return spot or if Natson has it locked down without any contention.

Expectations

At wide receiver? None.

As a return man? There should be significant expectations given the bar that’s been set by Fassel’s units in the past. If Natson gets a second year as a returner, he should produce more on average than he did last year especially in the kick return game.

Chances of making the final roster (9/10)

I’m not sure there’s much chance of Natson being unseated before the 53-man roster is set on August 31. I do think there could be a challenge for primary return duties if he doesn’t improve his outputs midseason though.