November came roaring in for the Los Angeles Rams and their fans. They were riding high with a 7-1 record, Matthew Stafford was being trumpeted as an MVP candidate, and Cooper Kupp was threatening the single season reception record.
One blockbuster move after another kept the team’s actions plastered into newsrooms and fan forums. Adding stars Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. gave traction to the long-held narrative that Les Snead and Sean McVay were hell-bent on returning to the Super Bowl NOW.
Even the Hollywood trope of “bad publicity is better than no publicity” could not stick to the Rams. They were able to amicably divorce from DeSean Jackson, a talented player known for speaking his mind about his ex-teams.
Things went sour as the month unfolded and the early transactional excitement was over-shadowed by three consecutive losses. Pundits and fans alike, have cussed-and-discussed LA’s problems and offered a bevy of possible solutions. All phases of the team have been scrutinized.
But this article isn’t another opinion piece on what the Rams should do about their current struggles. The team has made other November transactional moves besides the blockbusters, low-key incremental moves that have kept the active roster full and provided replacements on the practice squad:
Signed to the active roster
S Antoine Brooks 5’ 11”, 220 lbs.
Played free safety, box safety, and slot cornerback for Maryland Terrapins, but projects as a hybrid LB/S for the Rams. With a 4.64 forty and average burst, he’s not the kind of coverage player who is going to turn and run with wide receivers,
Brooks is a downhill charger with good lateral movement. An aggressive 100%er, he’s a strong hitter who isn’t afraid to take on offensive linemen and had success in blitz sets. His traits make him best suited as a cover LB matching up on tight ends and running backs, defending the run near the line of scrimmage, and on special teams.
DL Marquise Copeland 6’ 2” 285 lbs.
Signed by the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2019, he’s spent three years on the PS. Copeland’s another 100%er who wins on effort, not natural talent. Using leverage, balance, and strong hands from his wrestling background helps him make up for his lack of size and length. Strong, compact and versatile, he has experience playing up and down the defensive line.
Two weeks ago, versus the San Francisco 49ers, Copeland chalked up seven tackles n 26 defensive snaps.
Added to the practice squad
LB Anthony Hines lll 6’ 2” 225 lbs.
Athletically gifted, but raw developmental player with a tremendous upside. He only started one season at Texas A&M and sat out 2020 due to covid. Hines has both speed and burst, a 4.65 forty with a stellar 1.59 10 yard split. His shuttle and 3cone times were also very good.
Hines has good lateral movement and sideline-to-sidelie ability. He’s got good lengthened is comfortable in both space and traffic. These traits give him coverage skill in both zone and man. He’s not a physical presence, more of a run-and-chase tackler. Right now, he lacks play strength, but could be used as a cover LB.
WR Brandon Powell 5’ 8”, 185 lbs.
Powell was the primary return man for the Atlanta Falcons, under Raheem Morris, in 2020. He returned 17 punts for 152 yards and 17 kickoffs for 343 yards. He also chased up 181 offensive snaps, catching 12 of 18 passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns.
This season he’s bounced from Buffalo to Miami to Los Angeles. Powell’s got a return man’s quick feet and cut-at-speed ability. He’s more shifty than fast, but 4,59 is fair.
It could be that Powell was signed on the basis of his relationship with Raheem Morris, the coach giving a loyal ex-player a pay day. But the Rams don’t currently have a dynamic return game, so Powell could get a look at running back punts and kicks.
RB Mekhi Sargent 5’ 9”, 210 lbs.
A powerfully built, hard inside runner. Sargent’s has good vision, balance, and patience. He is not particularly fast at 4.69 but his burst ( 10 yard split ) and quick feet are very good. Sargent ran in a zone running offense at Iowa, mostly outside, but some inside as well. He’s built just the opposite of Darrell Henderson, with big powerful legs.
WR Warren Jackson 6’ 6”, 215 lbs.
Great wingspan and strong hands on this developmental WR. If he can improve his route tree and learn to utilize his size to beat press coverage he could earn some snaps in a very thin Ram receiver corps. He will need to use that size and his stellar leaping ability to overcome his lack of speed (4.70).
Jackson has a smooth playing style. He’s not explosive, but a good runner with a huge size advantage and a mean stiff arm. Most pundits predict that he will struggle with NFL press coverage, on film he does show a lack of burst but decent hand fighting skills. The Rams motion, bunch sets, and vertical route would help free him. His contested catch ability and eye/foot coordination along the sideline would make Jackson a nice fit in LA’s vertical passing game.
One final miscellaneous transaction
E Justin Hollins 6’ 5”, 248lbs.
Designated for return from the injured reserve list. The Rams have 21 days to open a spot on the active roster and reinstate him.