NFL Analyst Names Los Angeles Rams A ‘Sensical’ Destination For Versatile RB

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CBS Sports Sports Research Editor, Garrett Podell thinks the Los Angeles Rams are one of the teams that make the most sense as a landing spot for former Los Angeles Chargers running back, Austin Ekeler.

As Podell puts it,  “Ekeler could be a nice complement to the [Kyren Williams] punishing running style and add a versatility to head coach Sean McVay’s backfield as a receiver that could lighten Williams’ workload.”

Los Angeles Rams With Austin Ekeler At A Glance

NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers
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A Versatile Back With Sean McVay

For much of his career, Ekeler has been just as dangerous rushing the ball as he is catching the ball. That is, except for last year. From this vantage point, it is impossible to tell if last season could be chalked up to the Charger’s dumpster fire season or if he is truly over the hill. At his best, just a season ago in 2022, he rushed for 915 yards and had 722 yards receiving.

McVay hasn’t had a dual-threat running back since the heyday of Todd Gurley. One of Williams’ strengths while at Notre Dame was as a receiver but McVay doesn’t use him as one. His 48 targets rank him 23rd among running backs.

It’s been so long that it is hard to envision a McVay offense with a pass-catching back. But the thought of adding it is exciting.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos
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Shared Workload

The Rams currently have three running backs on the roster; Williams, Ronnie Rivers, and sophomore Zach Evans. Both were on the roster last season, but Rivers averaged 3.5 carries per game and Evans had nine carries in four games.

The only problem with that division of labor is Williams’ injury concerns. He missed four games last season and seven in his rookie season. So adding Ekeler to ‘lighten the workload’ is a necessity.

Ekeler would also benefit from splitting duties. The nearly 29-year-old was in on 66 percent of offensive snaps last season, a career-high. Ekeler has also struggled to stay on the field, playing a full season once. Williams played 82 percent of snaps in games in which he was active in 2023.

Contract Talk

The Rams have a good amount of cap space to sign Austin Ekeler, but the team has bigger fish to fry with that cash. Ekeler may want one last big payday, but the Rams offer him the chance to play for a Super Bowl contender over the next two seasons.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots
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