The Los Angeles Rams enter the 2023 season with only four players on offense who have played at least five years in the NFL and just one who was picked in the first round. That one player is Matthew Stafford, the first pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, and the other three with experience are Cooper Kupp, Rob Havenstein, and Tyler Higbee.
The rest of the Rams offense could feature two guards playing in the NFL for the first time, a host of receivers trying to gain a foothold on a long-term NFL career, and Cam Akers trying to hold off several on-comers at running back.
Somewhere in the mix, the L.A. Rams could find a breakout player on offense this season and Sean McVay will probably need at least three or four of them for the team to have a chance. Who has the best odds of being that player?
Here are some options and then I’ll put the vote to you.
WR Tutu Atwell, WR Van Jefferson, WR Ben Skowronek
Jefferson was picked in the second round in 2020, Atwell and Skowronek were drafted in the second and seventh rounds of the 2021 draft, respectively. The Rams social media and PR team has been featuring Jefferson about as much as anybody this offseason so there seems to be some momentum in the building to suggest that he’s going to play a big role in 2023.
Jefferson struggled when handed a larger share of the offense during his second year in the league and he missed six games last year, finishing with only 24 catches and 369 yards.
But Atwell has just 318 career snaps and 18 career receptions. Skowronek had 696 snaps last year, but had only 376 yards and zero touchdowns. He has yet to catch a touchdown pass in a regular season game.
RB Cam Akers, RB Kyren Williams, RB Zach Evans
The team was very open about trying to trade Akers last season, but had to welcome him back when they found no trade takers. He had over 100 rushing yards in each of his last three games.
Williams missed significant time with injury and had 35 carries for 139 yards in 10 games as a rookie. Evan is a sixth round pick who some though was good enough to go on day two and there is an opportunity for him to be this year’s Isiah Pacheco.
G Steve Avila, G Logan Bruss
The Rams used their first pick on guards in each of the last two years, with Bruss being a third rounder and Avila going at the top of round two. Avila might also compete to start at center, while Bruss hasn’t won any job yet. Coleman Shelton and Tremayne Anchrum have something to say about that.
TE Brycen Hopkins, TE Hunter Long, TE Davis Allen
Hopkins has done almost nothing of note in his first three seasons but is the first man up after Tyler Higbee right now. The team added Long in the Jalen Ramsey trade and picked Allen in the fifth round.
WR Puka Nacua, WR Lance McCutcheon, OT A.J. Jackson
Several more players who could surprise this year because of their opportunities.
Which of these players is most likely to have a breakout season?
WR Van Jefferson
RB Cam Akers
G Steve Avila
TE Brycen Hopkins
WR Tutu Atwell
RB Kyren Williams