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2 new Rams, 4 new facts

Get to know Jake Funk and Bobby Brown III

Minnesota v Maryland Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

On Tuesday, there were a few facts given out about Tutu Atwell, Jacob Harris, and Ernest Jones, three members of the Rams 2021 draft class.

These ones are getting even hotter, continuing down the line with one of LA’s fourth round picks and one of their gets in the seventh: Bobby Brown III and Jake Funk, new teammates, and also two of the fastest players out of the gates at this year’s pro days.

Bobby Brown III had a phenomenal 10-yard split time of 1.68

Whether they intended to or not, the Rams emphasized elite athleticism in the draft this year and Brown III belongs in the conversation as the most gifted athlete at his position group. At his pro day, Brown measured at 6’4, 321 lbs, and he ran a 5.04 40-yard dash, had a 33” vertical, and a 9’8 broad jump. But best of all was his 10-yard split time of 1.68.

I went back to last year’s class and no offensive lineman in the 2020 draft ran faster than a 1.69 10-yard split at the combine (how fast the prospect is in the first 10-yards of the 40) and the player who did was Tristan Wirfs.

And Wirfs is the same size as Brown.

On the defensive line, there were a few who bested 1.68, but most of those were pass rushers who weigh well under 300 lbs and not even they were more than a couple of tenths faster than Brown. His 1.68 is faster than any defensive tackles in last year’s draft except Carlos and Khalil Davis out of Nebraska.

In the last 20 years, fewer than 20 players have run a 5.04 40-yard dash or faster at 320 lbs or more.

Bonus fact: I also find this to be fascinating:

Marylan RB Jake Funk rehabbed his knee injuries with his brother, a physical therapist who also got his degree from Maryland

The headline story with Funk crudely but fairly highlights his injury history, including a torn ACL in back-to-back seasons. If not for that, the lead story with Jake Funk could have been his extraordinary production as a running back and inspiring hustle on special teams for the Maryland Terripans.

In the first game of the 2019 season, his first game back from a torn ACL, Funk had 12 carries for 79 yards in a 79-0 rout over Howard. In his second game, Funk had 94 yards on only five carries, including a 54-yard run and a touchdown. He tore his ACL again the following week.

But Funk rehabbed and returned for a COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, rushing for 221 yards in a win over Minnesota, 80 yards in a win over Penn State, and 180 yards in a loss to Rutgers, scoring a total of four touchdowns in those three games. It can be difficult to feel comfortable with a prospect’s injury history at the level of what Funk has gone through, but he’s spoken about the commitment it took to return each time. And the fortunate circumstances of having a brother who is a physical therapist:

Having a brother who owns a physical therapy clinic in Montgomery County and earned his doctorate from the University of Maryland, Baltimore would seem to be a significant advantage for Jake Funk as he sought to rebound from a torn ACL in his left knee for the second year in a row.

But brotherly love went only so far as Funk, a fifth-year senior running back for the Maryland football program, rehabilitated his knee with his brother five times per week, lifted weights with friends in a barn four days per week, and worked out with a private coach three times per week.

“I was doing two-a-days to three-a-days,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “And there would be long, hard days when you’re just grinding your body, beating it down, recovering as best you could, and just doing the little things with him to really get my knee to the point where I feel extremely confident.”

In the video below, Funk’s special teams acumen is highlighted as a reason that he has an above-average chance to make an NFL roster, but LB3 Scouting also sees potential in him as a running back. Similar to Brown III, Funk had an elite 10-yard split: 1.5 seconds. The only running back who was faster than that last year was Jonathan Taylor, a second round pick of the Colts.

Raymond Calais, signed by Tampa Bay and then picked up by the Rams, also ran a 1.5 10-yard split.

Bonus fact: I also like that fact about rushing for 79 yards in a 79-0 win.