The LA Rams loved speed and athleticism in the 2021 NFL Draft, It seemed as though as long as the prospect was athletically gifted, fast, or both, the LA Rams were calling out their name. And that’s fine, as long as there is a spot for those prospects to contribute on the football field when the Rams pare down the roster to the 53-man roster. Otherwise, they are just added to the pile. Each athletic prospect unsuited for NFL caliber play is just one more bell and whistle with plenty of promise that never seemed to deliver when the football was in play.
On the other end of the spectrum stands the LA Rams reserve tight end, Johnny Mundt. He is not an athletic freak by any means. In fact, when it comes right down to it, he is all about football. He doesn’t show up in the box scores. Over his four-year NFL career, he’s caught nine of 12 passes for 84 yards. He has never carried the ball.
For fantasy football general managers, Mundt is the last guy left on the board. Nobody wants him in the make-believe world of fantasy, because he is more about the team than himself. So why would anyone dare to feature tight end, Johnny Mundt, in an article about the Rams offense, with so many other stars? Well, let’s just say that when he gets his chances, he holds his own.
And until now, he has been used almost exclusively as the bouncer for Jared Goff’s offensive pass-throwing pocket. It’s Mundt who has helped to reinforce the offensive line, to add an extra blocker for the quarterback. Now, it simply makes sense for Mundt to grow as a receiver. Catch a few. Change it up a bit.
After all, the Rams have added two rookies – Jacob Harris and Ben Skowronek – who are athletic freaks and who need to perfect the ability to block in order to advance further in the Rams offensive hierarchy. Mundt caught all four passes thrown his way for an average of 13.3 yards per reception.
121 offensive snaps. Four passes. Four receptions.
Some think that the Rams should ‘get rid of him’. That would be … very foolish. Do you recall when the LA Rams offense was struggling in 2019 and tight end Gerald Everett was injured? At the time, the Rams were coming off a 45-6 whooping at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, had fallen to 6-5, and were pretty much written off for dead.
Johnny Mundt stepped up in a big way. As he took on the blocker tight end role, teammate Tyler Higbee was free up to focus on catching passes. Higbee did so to the tune of 522 yards for the month to close out the 2019 NFL season. Of course, the spotlights were all trained on Higbee. Mundt remained offstage, content to boost his team to a 3-2 record in December 2019 and save a winning season, and even keep the team in playoff contention.
Yes, it’s time for backup tight end Johnny Mundt to get some love. He’s been the go-to guy for anything that requires off-ball expertise. Blocking extraordinaire, he has become a crutch of sorts for the Rams offense. He is an inexpensive player who does many of the necessary tasks for the Rams football team to work. And yet, he is content to do so in the shadows, backstage, out of the spotlight.
I for one hope that he has his moment in the sun in 2021. I love to see a powerful tight end lumber down the field with a football who won’t be denied. A juggernaut who gets up a head of steam and defenders just bounce off. One season where he gets 300+ yards receiving.
Yes, he is one helluva blocking tight end. But he’s more. It’s time for the LA Rams to leverage that more into production. Johnny Mundt likely won’t be blocking for the team after he tests free agency. While he may not be a priority for other teams, he likely won’t be a priority for the Rams offense that has already drafted his replacement. If this is his final season, as it appears it may be, it’s time to floor it and see what he has under the hood.