LA Rams rookie running back Cam Akers is not a secret to the NFL this year, which may not be a bad thing
The LA Rams will be lining up a rookie running back, Cam Akers, this season. Curiously enough, the storyline for an NFL rookie takes one of four paths. The first is excessive hype followed by a good-great season. These NFL rookies usually are in the running for awards, but may or may not have long productive careers. The second is excessive hype followed by an average-poor season. These NFL rookies are quickly labeled busts,
A third category includes rookies who are seldom discussed at the national level but go on to have a good-great season. These are the middle-late round draft picks who ball out in the NFL and are the true gemstones that can prolong an NFL general manager’s career. While they don’t land awards in their rookie season, they do earn the respect of their teammates and coaches.
Of course, the fourth category includes rookies who are seldom mentioned and go on to have an average-poor season. They may produce eventually, but will more than likely remain nearly anonymous for the entirety of their football career.
The Cam is out of the bag
While we know the value of RB Akers on the Rams roster, admittedly we are very intimate with the backstory. We know the type of running back the Rams truly needed to select in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Rams are not under any expectation for a top-10 ranked offensive line. So the Rams needed a great running back who produced behind an imperfect offensive line. Their answer? Florida State running back Cam Akers.
The Rams made the choice at 52, but other teams had Akers in their sights. After the draft, the inevitable analysis of Todd Gurley’s successor has Akers whispered among the players who could produce at a high level this season. Of course, the Kansas City Chiefs chose the first running back off the board when they named Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
That opened the folks at the Stacking the Box podcast to discuss Edwards-Helaire as a possible OROY candidate.
Right where he ought to be
At the 38:20 mark, podcast hosts Mark Harmon and Matt Verderame start discussing the LA Rams running back situation with Cam Akers as a potential 2020 NFL offensive rookie of the year. Yes, they are the same pair that stated the Rams are not a playoff team, with one claiming the Rams would win ‘five-six games’. Ultimately, the consensus reached is that Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow as the odds-on favorite for OROY this year.
I’m okay with where Rams RB Cam Akers is right now. His name is known. The consensus appears to be that he can have a productive year in 2020. Of course, if veteran running back Malcolm Brown gets the lion’s share of the carries, you can bet the headlines will sound the alarms that Akers is on his way to being a bust. He isn’t. He is a rookie running back assuming a gradual take over as the starting running back.
Cam Akers may not be a secret weapon any longer. But don’t let a national narrative change your expectations for his season. He will gradually be given offensive snaps. Coaches need to ensure he can pick up blitzes, run with the ball at full speed, and run routes. If he doesn’t come out of the blocks with 150 yards rushing, it’s okay. By year’s end, we can judge his rookie season. Not in his first couple of games.