Five ways the LA Rams strategy failed to deliver in 2020

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

5. Drafting players to sit on the bench

Even as the LA Rams did well in the draft, it’s difficult to wonder if they left value from the draft on the table. Or perhaps more correctly, collecting splinters on the bench. Wide receiver Van Jefferson and tight end Brycen Hopkins truly did not see much playing time. So what was the urgency to draft them?

In the second round with pick number 57 (the same position they pick first from again this year, coincidentally) the Rams took wide receiver Van Jefferson out of the University of Florida, who turned out to be a pleasant surprise in training camp. Well, perhaps not much of a surprise, because he earned plenty of accolades in the 2020 Senior Bowl.

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That seemed to be all the evidence needed for the rookie to have a big season with the LA Rams.  But he didn’t see the field very much. In limited playing time (just 25 offensive snaps), Jefferson caught 19 passes from 21 targets, 220 yards and one touchdown. Why didn’t he log more playing time? What are Rams coaches seeing in practice that is not translating into more snaps on game Day?

And their round four pick – tight end Brycen Hopkins -was never targeted once. Of course, he only saw action on two offensive snaps, and was seldom used on special teams.  For such a promising prospect, falling to fourth string and buried as a backup on the depth chart was not promising at all.  After that 2020 season, you are left wondering if he only has a very tenuous hold on that roster spot at all?

The status of undrafted rookies was worse.  RB Xavier Jones made the 53-man roster, but never made an offensive play for the team. The Rams carried 10 offensive linemen on the roster all season, but four of those players had either only a special team’s role or no role at all.