Just how good can LA Rams RB Cam Akers be in 2021?
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams finally unleashed rookie running back Cam Akers in week 13 of the 2020 NFL Season. In the last six games that he played, which included four regular-season games and two playoffs, he rushed 132 times for 561 yards and three touchdowns. Over the course of a 16 game season, that works out to 352 carries for 1,500 yards and eight touchdowns.
If you migrate the other five touchdowns scored by veteran RB Malcolm Brown, the full season of RB Cam Akers projections into the 2021 NFL Season is 350 carries, 1500 yards, and 16 touchdowns. Former Rams feature running back Todd Gurley never carried the ball more than 293 times in a full season. Will the Rams pound the rock exclusively with Akers next year?
That’s highly unlikely. The Rams turned Akers ‘on’ after Darrell Henderson was injured and placed on injured reserve. Teammate RB Malcolm Brown was only afforded minimal carries. In the last games of the year, the spotlight was truly upon Akers, and he relished in that role. But this has circled us back to the starting point. Just how good can Cam Akers be for the LA Rams in 2021?
Well, it’s clear that he likely will not carry the ball for more than 300 carries. So that’s a good starting point. It’s also more likely that he averages his post-season average of 4.8 yards-per-carry, rather than his regular-season average of 4.3 yards-per-carry. Sp for starters, let’s spitball his carries to 260 rushes in 2021 and project a better than 4.7 yards-per-carry. That places him in the 1250 yard, 12 touchdown range.
Of course, former Rams feature running back Todd Gurley was very active for the Rams in the passing game as well. At his peak, he was the second-ranked receiver on the Rams team with 788 yards and six touchdown receptions. While Akers is not quite there, I can envision Akers late blooming as a receiver carrying over into 2021 as well. It’s no stretch of the imagination to project 400 yards and three touchdowns to Akers as a receiver in 2021 as well.
All totaled, Cam Akers projects to contribute 1,650 yards and 15 touchdowns to the Rams offense next season. Whoever is under center will most certainly appreciate that contribution.