This LA Rams rookie wide receiver is anything but Polky
By Bret Stuter
LA Rams undrafted rookie WR Brandon Polk is anything but Polky
Out of necessity, the LA Rams traded away a very fast but expensive wide receiver when they struck up a deal with the Houston Texans to send WR Brandin Cooks and a 2022 fifth-round pick to the Texans in exchange for the Texans 2020 second-round pick. That allowed the LA Rams to pick up the deceptively productive wide receiver Van Jefferson with the 57th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. In the process, the Rams shed a financial nightmare of a player contract in the nick-of-time to ignite some hope of retaining a few of the team’s projected 2021 free agents. Take a hit in 2020 to save some funds for 2021.
Still, it was a bittersweet victory for the Rams. Cooks was a very productive wide receiver who was blessed with so much speed that he literally ran away from defenders. And the thrill of plays where quarterback Jared Goff would heave the football for all its worth, watching that arc so high, only to come down into the fast-moving arms of Cooks was a true sight to behold. Oh, if only the Rams fans could enjoy that thrill once more, that would really be something.
A stroke of lightning and good luck
Fortunately, the Rams were neither caught by surprise nor unprepared. They had been grooming relations with a 5-foot-9 180-pound speedster by the name of Brandon Polk. Polk was a Penn State student who transferred to James Madison University. The reason for the transfer was quite apparent as his numbers from four seasons at Penn State were a mere fraction of his production at JMU. At JMU in one season, he caught 79 passes for 1,179 yards and 11 touchdowns. That’s impressive.
But he also found his niche in the kick return game, where he returned 14 kicks for 360 yards, good for an average of 25.7 yards per return. He was able to do so well because he clocked a 4.28-second 40-yard dash time. To place that into perspective, that is 0.05-seconds faster than Brandin Cooks.
The Rams are the perfect team to make use of all of Brandon Polk’s many talents. While he fell through the cracks of the 2020 NFL Draft, don’t use that standard as a reason to discount this young man’s potential. He is an ideal candidate to win the Rams role as both a punt and kick returner. And while he ravages opposing teams in the return game, he will be meticulously groomed to take on a larger role for the team in pass routes.