The LA Rams hired Andy Benoit as a special assistant to Sean McVay last week, and while the news was unsurprisingly met with surprise, there is no good reason to not root for Andy to succeed. The more successful that he is, theoretically, the better it should be for McVay, which in turn helps the Rams.
If you want the Rams to succeed, surely that extends to the players, coaches, executives, owners, and anyone else who can help the Rams succeed.
I like rooting for every player and I pretty much hate it when any football player gets injured or fails to meet expectations. I’m a sucker for success. But maybe in some cases, there are players who stand out even more at a given time in their careers. These are eight such players for me this August.
WR Tutu Atwell
Beyond the fact that he was LA’s top pick in the draft this year and that he plays a skill position, I like that Atwell fell through the cracks of the recruiting system because college teams didn’t understand him or know what he could do. A high school dual threat quarterback who got labeled as an “athlete,” Atwell landed in a good spot with Louisville and took advantage of every opportunity but few predicted he would become a day two pick in the NFL.
Even as a second rounder, many continue to be skeptical of a 155-lb player being worth a pick that high. I think he deserved his spot and rate him higher than D’Wayne Eskridge, the receiver picked by the Seattle Seahawks one pick earlier.
I do not expect the Rams to need him much on offense this season, so I wouldn’t be worried if his yardage total isn’t much higher than his weight, and Atwell has yet to get into the swing of things as he’s been on the COVID-19 reserve list all of training camp. But he could get involved on punt returns and there will definitely be some “Tutu plays” that Sean McVay calls up throughout the season.
RB Darrell Henderson
I would love to see Henderson stay healthy all camp and rack up a bunch of yards all season. Given the lack of depth, LA will need it and Henderson is their best hope.
TE Jacob Harris
I’m not sure how worried we should really be about the injury he suffered in camp, because Harris seems to still be out there working. I can’t see how he will be playing much actual tight end this season, but I’m also not really a tight ends expert. You know who is? Sean McVay.
There was a small handful of super intriguing day three prospects I had in mind and Harris is one that was actually drafted by the Rams, so that’s always a good reason to root for someone. I’m also rooting for Brycen Hopkins, so that the number two tight end position is settled by Week 1.
OL Joseph Noteboom
He’s won two opportunities to start and those dreams have been cut short both times. He filled in well for Andrew Whitworth at left tackle and now he’s pushed back to the bench. Maybe that’s good for him and good for the Rams — with the 17-game season, depth will be a key in 2021.
DL Sebastian Joseph-Day
Hell of a nice guy and there’s been hype around him all offseason, so I root for that hype to come to fruition.
OLB Leonard Floyd
I feel like we forget about Floyd because he’s stuck in this void between the two superstars on defense and the solid players who maybe aren’t quite up to his level but they have “potential” and so we’re more curious about their development and play. I’ve noted several times this year that Floyd’s sack totals feel misleading — so many of them came against the Seahawks and Bears — but LA pushed him a big contract when they didn’t have to and at a position where they’ve consistently let players walk in free agency.
Clearly Floyd is bringing traits to the team every single day that some of his predecessors did not bring. Les Snead knows he doesn’t have a ton of cap space as is, so why Floyd when that spot has been rotating for so long? Sack totals are overrated anyway.
S Taylor Rapp
I’ve been watching Big Brother for over 20 years and so I’m well aware of the trope of the contestant who at first is a villain for doing something “unforgiveable” but then as people begin to pile on and overreact and make their life on the house miserable, you start to root for the villain. In fact, you begin to like the villain more than anybody else on the show.
I’m rooting more for Taylor Rapp than probably any other player.
*It’s weird to even compare Rapp to a “villain” because he seems like the furthest thing from a bad guy.
ILB Travin Howard
Come be healthy for a full season and show everyone what you can do.
RB/KR Jake Funk
Two ACL tears. You know it, I know it. Two ACL tears and a sudden wealth of opportunity in the NFL.