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Rams midseason predictions: Will LA land a top-5 pick?

Will Rams be in position for a top-5 pick at the end of the season?

NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The midseason point, especially at a bye week allows time to take a step back and have some fun. With the Los Angeles Rams sitting at 3-6, they may not make the playoffs, but there is still a lot to play for. That means that it’s time for some predictions. Here are five midseason predictions as the Rams head into the second half of 2023.

1. Rams won’t pick inside the top-5

I don’t expect much to change in the second-half of the season for the Rams. They’re going to be good enough to win games, but remain inconsistent to the point where they lose game that they should win. The back half of the schedule also gets a little easier with matchups against the New York Giants and Washington Commanders along with the Arizona Cardinals, and New Orleans Saints.

It shouldn’t be expected that the Rams will go 3-14 or 4-13 and lose out the rest of the way. A 6-11 record is very realistic. While some may not see that as ideal, it should be enough to still land the Rams inside the top-10 and in position for a top prospect.

2. TuTu Atwell will lead Rams in receiving touchdowns

Who knew that TuTu Atwell would be a threat in the red zone? So far this season he has three touchdowns which currently leads all Rams wide receivers. Puka Nacua trails him with two. For the first time in Atwell’s career, we’re seeing a glimpse of the second-round pick that he was drafted as.

Cooper Kupp will likely start scoring more the red zone and Nacua should be involved as well. With that said, I’m going to say that Atwell remains in the lead and finishes the season with six or seven touchdowns and leading the team.

3. Kyren Williams will eclipse 1,000 yards rushing.

This one is going to be very close, but it is very much doable. Williams currently has 456 yards rushing and while he will miss Week 11’s game against the Seahawks, he should return in Week 12 and have six games to get 544 yards.

Williams will need to average 90 yards per game. Prior to the injury, he was averaging 76 yards per game, but with matchups against the Cardinals, Giants, and Commanders, those three matchups have big game potential. If Williams were to hit 1000 yards, he would be the first Rams running back since Todd Gurley and 2018 to achieve it.

4. Byron Young breaks the Rams rookie sack record

Through the first half of the season, Byron Young has five sacks which leads all rookies and he also leads rookie in pressures with 31. Aaron Donald currently holds the Rams rookie sack record with nine back in 2014. There may be a rookie wall coming, but it’s hard not to see Young coming close to that record over the second half of the season.

Young has been one of the Rams’ most impressive rookies after being drafted in the third round. Los Angeles has the Giants, Commanders, and Browns in their next seven games. Those three teams rank inside the bottom-10 in sacks allowed per game. Young could show that he’s a future building block by breaking the Rams rookie sack record.

5. Puka Nacua won’t break rookie receiving yards record

This isn’t to say that Nacua is going to completely fall off and not be relevant in the offense. However, he’s not going to be surprising teams over the next eight games and the Rams also play three very difficult pass defenses in the Browns, Saints, and Baltimore Ravens. He will certainly have a shot at the record, but may come up just short given the state of the offense and the level of defenses that he’ll be facing. The record is currently 1,473 receiving yards by Bill Groman who set the record in 1960.

That shouldn’t take away from Nacua’s season at all and he very well could still break the rookie receptions record. Jaylen Waddle had 104 receptions back in 2021. Nacua has only averaged around four receptions per game over the last four weeks. However, I do think this is a record that he’ll get very close to, if not break it with Matthew Stafford back and Carson Wentz as the backup. Nacua has already broken Rams rookie receiver records, but it would be cool to see him break some league records as well.