Five young LA Rams players who will shine in 2021
By Bret Stuter
Tight-end Brycen Hopkins did not have much of a role, as head coach Sean McVay was more than happy to sit him on the bench for the entirety of the 2020 NFL season. Will that hamper his 2021 NFL production? I don’t expect so. After all, redshirting has become common practice in both collegiate and professional football.
The Rams had a crowded field of tight ends in 2020, and the fact is that they enjoyed more opportunity in the offseason than when the football was snapped. I’m not sure why that was, because the Rams proved that they had very effective tight ends. They just failed to game plan for them, or Goff failed to throw the ball their way.
We know that quarterback Matthew Stafford loves to throw to his tight ends. And we know that 6-foot-4 245-pound Brycen Hopkins loves to catch the football. But right now, both are ‘theory’ only. That is about to change, to the delight of LA Rams fans. He’s big, he’s strong, he can catch contested balls, and he runs a 4.66-second 40-yard-dash that will allow him to test the depth of the defense pretty quickly. For comparison purposes, Gerald Everett ran a 4.62-second 40-yard-dash.
Hopkins does not come with prescripted plays. He is a blank slate, nearly as new to the Rams offense as Stafford. That can work to his advantage, as he will be more than eager to contribute to this offense however he can. I don’t expect that the Rams will run as many 12 packages as we thought in 2020. But I do expect the Rams to throw to Hopkins when they do.