Los Angeles Rams: 5 Breakout Candidates Primed for a Big 2024

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams offseason is yet again littered with reasons for optimism, but when the rubber hits the road, success this season will hinge on a handful of players leaping forward in their talent level. We already know what Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Puka Nacua are going to bring, but who will be the players that turn this team back into Super Bowl contention

For the sake of this article, ‘breakout candidates’ are limited to players still on their rookie contracts, but not players selected this year.

Los Angeles Rams Breakout Candidates

Steve Avila, C

Steve Avila did enough to earn a starting job in his rookie year with the Rams, but he was still a rookie. Now moving to center, Avila will have to prove that he can learn a new role* and advance as an offensive lineman.

Last season, Avila allowed the 5th most pressure among rookie guards and was in the top 20 among all guards. Kyren William’s yards per carry dropped significantly when running through Avila’s gaps. It dropped from 5.7 yards on the right side to 4.0 yards when rushing toward Avila.

Avila proved he could make the leap from second-round draft pick to NFL starter, now he will have to prove he can make the next big step forward.

Davis Allen, TE

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens
Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Higbee missed two regular season games and that was when Davis Allen played his best games. In Weeks 14 and 18, Allen caught 8 passes for 75 yards, four first downs, and a touchdown.

Higbee will likely miss several games to kick off the new season, so Davis will have a chance to earn playing time. But he won’t be ensured playing time, the Rams added veteran tight end, Colby Parkinson. So playing time goes through him.

Allen has flashed hotter than Parkinson has but will have to continue to drive to break out.

Quentin Lake, Star

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers
Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinCredit: Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Quentin Lakes‘ playing time shot up once the Rams realized how versatile of a defender he was. This is how he described 2023,

“At first it was a dime linebacker, then it was dime money, dime DB. Then it was safety, then it was nickel in one package, then nickel, then safety, and then safety and nickel in the same game.”

Lake’s big opportunity is to improve on the outside so that the Rams can truly move him into what their defense has called the STAR.

But he already has the job’s hardest component, tackling. No matter the player, nor the circumstance, Lake proved to be an elite tackler. He missed just three tackles on over 451 defensive snaps.

He has already gotten several shoutouts from the coaching staff for his improvement this offseason.

Cobie Durant, CB

NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Rams
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Neither Darious Williams nor Tre’Davious White are long-term answers. The Rams need at least one of their six drafted defensive backs from the last few years to hit. Cobie Durant has been put through the paces in his first two seasons with the Rams. From earning a starting role, to moving inside and out, Durant has done it all.

Now he just needs to put the pieces together and emerge as a starting-caliber cornerback.

Bobby Brown, DT

With Aaron Donald retired, Bobby Brown is now the longest-tenured defensive lineman on the team. He is one of three remaining players from the nine-man 2021 draft class.

Brown’s playing time has increased year over year, but he was ultimately overlooked in favor of rookie Kobie Turner.

The Rams defensive line has plenty of fun young players, but it lacks experience and depth, which was far less important when Donald was playing.

Brown will need to take a step into a leadership role and be able to stay on the field for significantly more snaps next season. He played just 36 percent of defensive snaps in 2023. It will be his last chance to make an impression on the Rams and earn a second contract.

He has flashed as a run defender, but has just one sack in 234 pass-rush snaps.