Rams Offensive Trio Ranked Outside NFL’s Top 5

ESPN has the LA Rams offensive playmakers ranked outside of the NFL’s top five – but is this fair?

Apparently, a Lombardi Trophy and record-breaking wide receiver aren’t quite enough to land you a spot in ESPN’s Bill Barnwell’s top 5 NFL offensive trio ranking.

A recent article ranks every team based on their wide receiver/tight end/running back trio and at a solid, if perhaps underwhelming seventh place is the LA Rams.

Hope you drafted Cooper Kupp in your fantasy league! After seemingly settling in as a solid veteran in the 70 yards-per-game range, Kupp exploded after the arrival of Matthew Stafford in Los Angeles. He led the league in receptions and receiving yards, outpacing wideouts in the latter category by more than 300 yards. The 29-year-old combined rare usage with devastating efficiency, leading in yards per route run (3.2). We don’t see many breakouts like this five years into an NFL career — it’s tough to count on Kupp being the best receiver in football again — but it’s clear the ceiling is much higher than it previously seemed for the sixth-year veteran.

What more can be said? Kupp recorded the best season from a wide receiver in league history in 2021 on the way to being named first-team All-Pro, Super Bowl MVP, NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and a Pro Bowler.

However, outside of Kupp, Barnwell was less convinced by LA’s receiving options.

The arrival of Allen Robinson to replace Robert Woods was a decision he was skeptical of, to say the least.

“After averaging 1.8 yards per route run or better in each of his first three seasons with Chicago, Robinson dropped all the way below 1.3 a year ago, which is Kalif Raymond and Nelson Agholor territory,” Barnwell said. “The Rams bet heavily on a bounce-back season, and Robinson will finally get an above-average quarterback after a decade with the likes of Christian Hackenberg, Blake Bortles and Mitch Trubisky.”

When it comes to the run game, Barnwell’s prediction was equally mixed. Cam Akers may have returned from his torn Achilles in the playoffs, but Barnwell didn’t shy away from noting that “his (Akers) playoff run was a disaster.”

“The track record for backs recovering from torn Achilles tendons remains spotty, so the Rams might have to call on backups Darrell Henderson Jr. and Kyren Williams,” Barnwell said.

Turning to the tight ends and backup receivers, and as far as Barnwell is concerned, the word underwhelming springs to mind.

“Tight end Tyler Higbee’s nuclear run at the end of 2019 sticks out like a sore thumb on his career game log,” Barnwell said. “Van Jefferson has yet to develop into a complete receiver as he enters his third season, while fellow second-rounder Tutu Atwell barely saw the field as a rookie. The specter of a reunion with Odell Beckham Jr. hangs over the Rams, but he’s not factored in here since he remains a free agent.”

Apparently 802 yards and 16 touchdowns last season wasn’t enough to everybody that Jefferson is a more than capable No. 2 receiver. Meanwhile, Atwell has been receiving rave reviews this year as he looks to live up to his second-round selection.

Jefferson, Atwell, Akers, and Higbee may not be billboard names per se, but the fact is that with a quarterback fresh off of a 6,000+ yard year to guide them and one of, if not the best offensive minds in the league as their head coach – this group can be better than the sum of its parts.

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