Breakout Players on the Rams Roster
Over the last few years, the Rams have been successful at drafting young players. Sometimes they break out immediately (Ernest Jones, Jordan Fuller), and sometimes they’ve needed a few years to marinate (Greg Gaines, Joseph Noteboom). So now, the roster is loaded with young talent. Despite the top-heavy reputation, they have playmakers all over that can have a moment or two throughout the year. This year there are several players poised to break out and become starters either for the Rams or another team down the road.
After spending the last two seasons in witness protection and wandering the Earth, Brycen Hopkins had a moment on the biggest stage. With Tyler Higbee already out of the Super Bowl and breakout tight end, Kendall Blanton sustaining an injury in the game the Rams turned to Hopkins. At that point, he hadn’t played a major role but was now being called upon to carry the entire workload. His four catches and 47 yards were second only to Cooper Kupp for the Rams. On top of that, his catches were absolutely necessary as they came primarily on third down.
Higbee has had injury issues and is coming towards the end of his contract. Hopkins has a chance to truly breakout this season. He’s not the blocker that Blanton is but he could be. The athleticism is there he just needs the rest to complete the package. The Rams didn’t add any more tight ends so far this offseason, so Hopkins can finally have a shot.
Brycen Hopkins got buried on the tight end depth chart because the Rams became enamored with Harris in camp. Legally, Harris was drafted as a tight end but is more of a big receiver, a la Jimmy Graham. He didn’t get a chance to show what he’s got because he tore his ACL against the Titans. The Rams’ top three are set with Kupp, Allen Robinson, and Van Jefferson but they still need more horses until Odell Beckham comes back (if).
The Super Bowl shined a light on how little the Rams had at receiver. Beckham going down and Van having an off game (understandable given the personal circumstances), forced them to rely heavily on Hopkins, Ben Skowronek, and Darrell Henderson. Harris could be that additional deep threat given his size and speed. If healthy, he could break out in a big way to the point where he will be a waiver wire hero in fantasy. The Rams didn’t draft a tight end or receiver which means they’re counting on him to contribute in some way.
The third-year defensive end has played in 10 games with 11 tackles. The Rams have a Von Miller-sized hole to fill and while there isn’t a singular figure available to replace him, Copeland has a chance to be one of the guys that will attempt to fill it. He’s had key tackles and had an interception in the Wild Card game against Arizona. Aaron Donald will continue to be triple-teamed and Greg Gaines warrants more attention after his own breakout year, so Copeland has a chance to take teams by surprise.
Howard made one of the biggest plays in Rams’ history. When Aaron Donald forced Jimmy Garoppolo into a bad throw, Howard was there to make the pick and sealed the NFC Championship for the Rams. He was waived once already and after two injury years, he began to make waves in 2021. He has 43 tackles, a pick, and six pass deflections over the course of 34 games. He’s playing behind Ernest Jones and Bobby Wagner but he will definitely be a fixture in the rotation. He’ll also be competing with Chris Garrett, Justin Hollins, and Terrell Lewis for snaps on the outside. That said, Travin Howard can easily breakout.
The one rookie with the best chance to break out is Logan Bruss. He is going to compete for the starting guard spot in place of the departed Austin Corbett. His competitors are several guys that have had chances already.
Bobby Evans had a strong rookie year but appears to have plateaued. Coleman Shelton is looking more like he’s competing with Brian Allen for the center spot and Tremayne Anchrum is perhaps still greener than Bruss.
The Rams desperately need a capable guard, especially in the running game and Bruss’s tape indicates a guy that can block both at the line of scrimmage and at the next level. He’s ready-made to start and all he needs to do in camp is prove it. If he can spring Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, and Kyren Williams, he can become a fan favorite immediately and for years to come.