Now that dust has settled from the NFL Trade Deadline, the mostly amicable break-up with Desean Jackson, and the season ending injury to Tutu Atwell, the Los Angeles Rams suddenly find themselves needing to restock their wide receiver room.
Who will fill the gaps in a unit that started the 2021 season with an embarrassment of riches? According to Lindsey Thiry of ESPN, the Rams will stay in-house.
With the departure of DeSean Jackson and Tutu Atwell being placed on injured reserve, Sean McVay says they will find depth with rookie Jacob Harris, who should be listed as a WR not TE, rookie Ben Skowronek and JJ Koski, who was signed today from the practice squad.
With the departure of DeSean Jackson and Tutu Atwell being placed on injured reserve, Sean McVay says they will find depth with rookie Jacob Harris, who should be listed as a WR not TE, rookie Ben Skowronek and JJ Koski, who was signed today from the practice squad.— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) November 3, 2021
While the three candidates don’t have many NFL offensive snaps among them, we can compare the differing qualities they could bring to the Rams passing game. Sean McVay discussed how the Rams would deal with the receiver situation at his Wednesday press conference, beginning at the 5:12 mark.
Ben Skowronek 6’ 3” 220 lbs.
The odds-on favorite to replace DJax. So far this season, he's grabbed 34 offensive snaps and all three passes thrown his way. His 80” wingspan, big, strong hands and ability to win contested catches make him valuable in/near the end zone and on deep back shoulder throws. A solid route runner, BSkow blocks and finishes runs like a tight end, with edge and strength. He played special teams all four years of college and has already proven to be a contributor for the Rams ST’s.
Jacob Harris 6’ 5” 220 lbs.
An intriguing blend of size and speed with stellar natural athleticism. Didn’t play football until college, so he’s raw and still learning the intricacies of the game. He runs a blazing 4.39 forty and opposing cornerbacks can be overrun and passed by his long strides. Those same strides deter his short area quickness. He has more build-up speed than burst. Catching the ball, Harris has good hands, focus, concentration and looks the ball in. At times, he tends to be a body catcher rather than with his hands. His speed and athleticism have already made him a stalwart on coverage and return teams.
J.J. Koski 6’ 1” 195lbs
Showed good production ( FCS top 10 in yards per reception) in a college triple-option offense. Very fast with great feet and moves. Ran 4.45 at his virtual pro day. Three separate publications call his speed “elite”. A 100%er with soft hands, good running vision and relatively long arms. Team captain and MVP whose numbers have improved each college season. College film shows sharp cuts on routes, he catches passes with his hands and blocks well downfield. Limited route tree, mostly streaks. Got a lot of coverage one-on-ones and wins. Over his four years at Cal Poly, he returned punts, kickoffs, and was a gunner on special teams.
Who will it be
There won’t be a lot of snaps playing behind the Rams stellar trio of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Van Jefferson, but one of these players will be thrust into the role of WR #4.
After his play last Sunday versus the Houston Texans, Skowronek has earned the job, Harris still seems to be year away but will probably get some snaps because of his freakish athleticism and draft status, but I wouldn’t sleep on Koski. He's that win-at-all-costs kind of guy who could get his foot in the door as a returner and convince both coaches and fans that the spot is his.