Why did LA Rams need to draft TE Brycen Hopkins at 136?

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Why did LA Rams draft TE Brycen Hopkins with the 136th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft?

Despite perceived needs at other positions, the LA Rams drafted Purdue tight end, Brycen Hopkins, with the 136th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Of course, talent is always a welcome addition to the LA Rams roster. After all, Hopkins stands 6-foot-4 and weighs in at 245 pounds.  That’s a great size and weight for an NFL tight end.

Beyond the great tight-end physique for the NFL, Hopkins certainly possesses a great deal of talent.  While many NCAA tight ends had just one or two seasons of ample usage, Hopkins was used heavily for 40 college games, hauled in 130 catches for 1,945 yards and 16 touchdowns.

No room at the inn

Even numbers that lofty do not ensure Hopkins will get playing time for the Rams, or will even make the roster. And if the LA Rams were drafting for an immediate return in 2020 from Hopkins, the use of the 136th pick was likely unwise.  After all, the LA Rams are not known for using multiple tight ends on offense, although that could change in 2020.

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Even if the Rams do go with multiple tight ends this year for offensive plays, the team already has Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett, and Johnny Mundt on the roster. And the team added both Ethan Wolf and Kendall Blanton to future reserves contracts in January 2020. That makes for a very crowded tight end field for 2020, and with so little direct training time likely, Hopkins future is already in peril before he ever puts on an LA Rams jersey

Development for the future

Ah, but the LA Rams are not drafting for 2020. In fact, the Rams have a pretty effective system of adding a playing as a rookie, with the intention of simply sitting the player for a season with little to no action – save special teams play. But then, promoting the player to a backup role / rotational player in their second season.

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I don’t think the plan is to get Hopkins as many snaps as possible in 2020. In fact, Hopkins arrival may simply signal that the Rams will not attempt to re-sign Gerald Everett when his contract expires at the end of this season. Hopkins watches Everett and learns. Everett has an outstanding season and signs a huge contract elsewhere. And the LA Rams get a great season out of Everett, and an awarded 2022 compensatory pick for losing Everett in the 2021 NFL Free Agency market.  In the end, the Rams needed to draft Hopkins for the 2021 season.  That’s actually a very inspired plan.