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Rams tight ends step up in latest training camp practice

Tyler Higbee and Brycen Hopkins have been standing out in training camp as of late

NFL: AUG 06 Los Angeles Rams Training Camp Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For the last eight years, Tyler Higbee has been a pillar in the Los Angeles Rams franchise. While he may be considered overpaid at this point in his career, the veteran tight end has been a serviceable player for the team, finishing the last four seasons with at least 500 yards and 3 touchdowns, as well as a career-high 72 receptions just last year.

Since Cooper Kupp left Tuesday’s training camp with a leg injury, Higbee is once again letting the passing offense funnel through tight end, just as he did in the second half last season. He’s not the only Rams tight end who is standing out.

Going into 2023, the veteran tight end now brings a new valuable asset to the team in the form of stability. With so many departures in the offseason, coupled with a large rookie class being onboarded, experience, continuity and leadership are harder to come by than in previous seasons of Sean McVay’s tenure.

Higbee has been looking good in camp thus far, consistently scoring in the red zone. On Thursday, Higbee high pointed a perfectly placed ball by quarterback, Matthew Stafford, in the back corner of the end zone for a touchdown. With Kupp out nursing a hamstring injury, Higbee is probably the next player Stafford is most comfortable throwing to in the offense.

Higbee was not the only player making plays from the tight end position though, as fourth year player, Brycen Hopkins, was reported to have also had a great day of practice. He made a few intermediate receptions from both Stafford and Bennett during team drills, then in a 2-minute drive, was able to haul in a shorter pass that kept the offense on the field. He also caught a red zone touchdown pass from quarterback Brett Rypien.

Hopkins hasn’t had the NFL success expected after a strong career at Purdue, but still has a chance to change his narrative this season. The fact Hopkins is on the field is already helping his case to be the second tight end over newly acquired Hunter Long. The former Miami Dolphins tight end was moved in the Jalen Ramsey trade and is currently on the PUP list, while rookie Davis Allen is also out with a hamstring of his own.

Given the current lack of depth at the tight end position, hearing positive reception on Hopkins’ play is encouraging. Higbee and Hopkins are both in contract years this season, and if either want to extend their careers in Los Angeles, a strong showing this season could help their chances of being resigned.