LA Rams UDFAs will lead team to success one more time
By Bret Stuter
The path to NFL as an undrafted free agent has been easier as an LA Rams player than on most NFL teams. Of course, ILB Cory Littleton was one such player. But so was cornerback Troy Hill. How about punter Johnny Hekker? Defensive end Morgan Fox never heard his name called at the NFL Draft. What about running back Malcolm Brown? Did you know that the defensive back who lines up opposite All-Pro Jalen Ramsey, Darious Williams, never heard his name called in the NFL Draft?
Now, we’re not saying that players who want to become NFL stars need to boycott the draft. But the LA Rams 2021 roster, particularly when it comes to who makes the 53-man team this year, may have multiple undrafted players as contributors to the team this year. New and unfamiliar faces to many, who are incredibly undervalued simply because their names didn’t appear in a mock draft or they weren’t touted by ‘expert analysts’.
Well, analysts get it wrong sometimes. In fact, the track record of first-round drafted players runs just better than 50/50. Not great odds by those rookies who have been analyzed and get a consensus that they are the best of the bunch, is it? Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, nearly a third of the NFL players (about 500) are undrafted. 500 out of 1,696 roster spots.
The challenge with many who underestimate the undrafted players on their team is their presumption that they are not ‘good enough.’ Well, they may be more talented than existing players, but simply need more coaching. They may be a better fit for the team’s needs, but the coaching staff simply needs more familiarity. The speed at which many pooh-pooh the chances of some of the undrafted talent that is currently on the Rams roster is rather surprising.