The 2023 Los Angeles Rams will be defined by the progress shown from their young and inexperienced roster. Les Snead and the front office are pinning their hopes on a stellar rookie class to help the Rams rebound from a horrendous campaign.
So far, a few members of LA’s rookie class have made a name for themselves just days into training camp. Here are a few of the early first-year standouts to keep an eye on.
Fourth rounder and two-time national champion quarterback Stetson Bennett has looked nothing like a 62 overall player as rated by Madden. Guess the “elderly” Georgia product can throw the football pretty darn well with pinpoint accuracy, as evidenced by this now-viral throw to offseason addition Demarcus Robinson:
This is the Demarcus Robinson catch (and Stetson Bennett throw) I mentioned during yesterday's training camp practice: https://t.co/uK0o6smCKa— Stu Jackson (@StuJRams) July 27, 2023
TST’s very own Jason Dalessandro noted Bennett’s improvisational skills on the run while directing Robinson were a thing of beauty. Matthew Stafford obviously has nothing to worry about as his status as QB1 is secure. However early on, Bennett is providing faith that LA will be in solid hands should Stafford be forced to miss time. Hard telling if he’ll end up being the future at the position but Stets is clearly holding his own by proving his worth to the team.
LA has been throwing everything they can at Nacua and the BYU product continues to deliver amidst an increased workload. Nothing unusual in that regard as the Rams have been doing that in practices all offseason as they attempt to carve out a massive role for him in Sean McVay’s offense.
Two days into training camp, very apparent the Rams are continuing to test and give big workload to rookie WR Puka Nacua just as they did during OTAs and minicamp.— Stu Jackson (@StuJRams) July 28, 2023
Really good to hear Puka Nacua continuing where he left off in Rams OTAs. If he can continue to handle what Rams throw at him, he may actually earn a role in the offense heading into the regular season. Important for him to keep it up.— Blaine Grisak (@bgrisakTST) July 28, 2023
McVay and Cooper Kupp have frequently sung Puka’s praises as he’s seemingly adjusted quickly to the intricacies of the pro game. His aggressive hands have gotten him far as he works to fill the hole left by the departure of Robert Woods. The only thing proving problematic for Nacua is the injury bug which reared its ugly head in Thursday’s practice.
Puka Nacua was cramping but team says that is the extent of it. https://t.co/JGGkgJ8cUc— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) July 28, 2023
Hopefully the cruel Southern Californian sun won’t hinder Puka’s production from here on out. If OC Mike LaFleur isn’t worried, neither should the rest of us. Yet it’s better to be safe than sorry for a player who has a rather troubling history of lower body injuries.
The first pick for the Rams in this year’s draft is set to be an immediate contributor on the field. Draft status is no guarantee for playing time but LA needs all available bodies on hand to keep Stafford upright. Avila from TCU is an elite prospect and with the Horned Frogs in 2022, he didn’t allow a single sack. While that production will be hard to come by in the NFL, don’t put anything past his fundamentals and build.
Watching OL and striking to me are two details about Steve Avila - certainly larger iOL build than they have targeted in the past under McVay but very very quick feet.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) July 28, 2023
Tanner Ingle & Rashad Torrence
Youthful energy has been quite apparent all throughout the team during the early days of camp but on defense especially. Undrafted rookie free agents Tanner Ingle (NC State) and Rashad Torrence (Florida) have provided much of the energy as they attempt to make the 53-man roster.
Senior staff writer Stu Jackson from the Los Angeles Rams team website had a couple notable observations in regards to the two UDFAs and the key plays they made early in camp. Ingle had one that fired up the team’s secondary:
“A pass breakup by rookie safety Tanner Ingle on a Stafford pass intended for Kupp during team drills drew especially boisterous reactions from Ingle’s defensive teammates.” per the Rams’ team website
Later, Torrence made quick work of a Brett Rypien pass which ending up receiving similar acclaim:
“Rookie safety Rashad Torrence had a perfectly-timed interception to end practice, jumping in front of Rypien’s pass over the middle during redzone work. Torrence was then followed by his defensive teammates celebrating the play as he ran down the sideline after making the play.” per the Rams’ team website
Again, it’s early and plenty easy to overreact to highlight reel plays made throughout training camp. Anything can happen between now and the start of the regular season. I will say that I’m liking the future of this team and excited to see where the rookie class goes from here.