Who will be LA Rams third starting wide receiver this year?

Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams are generating a great deal of exciting buzz directed their way ahead of the 2021 season. One of the reasons for that excitement is the LA Rams‘ wide receiver tandem of Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.  Will they reclaim their 1000 yard seasons? Will they have productive seasons with the reformulated Rams offense?

After these players, questions begin to form on the roster. Who will see playing time? Which sub-packages will head coach Sean McVay concoct to make use of so many offensive weapons? Are all of the current players compatible, or will the Rams offense go with an either-or set of personnel packages? One thing remains certain, there is plenty of talent and candidates who are fighting to become the team’s third receiver.

In 2020, the third wide receiver on the field (WR3) for the Rams offense was the fourth-year veteran wide receiver, Josh Reynolds. Although he converted 52 of 81 passes thrown his way into 618 receiving yards and two touchdowns, the Rams failed to re-sign him. Instead, he signed a one-year, $1.75 million prove-it deal with the Tennessee Titans this off-season.

New opportunity on the LA Rams offense

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

His free agency departure, coupled with the addition of veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford, presents an opportunity for the rest of the Rams’ receivers. The team’s third receiver could hinge on who Stafford has better chemistry with down the stretch.

Could newly-signed veteran wide receiver Desean Jackson replace Reynolds as the WR3? This offseason, he signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the LA Rams. When healthy, he has shown that he still has the speed to take the top off of opposing defenses. However, he has only played a combined eight games in the last two seasons. With that lack of playing time, he isn’t the most likely candidate, but he’s worth mentioning because of Stafford’s deep ball capabilities.

Could it be rookie wide receiver Tutu Atwell? Even though McVay tends to be very slow with rookie implementation, management must love him as a weapon for Stafford. When the Rams went on the clock in this year’s draft, there were several players available who seemed to be a good value and would fill a need for the team. The Rams instead opted for the speedy and somewhat undersized WR/PR Tutu Atwell, and NFL analysts pummeled the Rams for doing so. Who knows, maybe what made the Rams ‘reach’ for Atwell will convince them to play him more than expected during his rookie year? He is already working at returning punts for the Rams on special teams.

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Or how about Van Jefferson? I am continuing to hear whispers that he is impressing at camp. Perhaps you have heard some as well. McVay seems to be talking very highly about the young man right now.

Some people are extremely optimistic about his upcoming season, including head coach Sean McVay. This is where I am leaning for the new third wide receiver for the LA Rams 2021 offense.

Must Read. Why LA Rams WR Van Jefferson can lead the team in receiving yards. light

When Cooper Kupp was out against the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs due to injury, Van Jefferson played his best game yet, catching six of seven passes for 46 yards and a touchdown. This performance separates him from the other candidates on the roster. Moving forward, I expect more playing time for him and a corresponding spike in his on-field production. Both LA Rams head coach Sean McVay and quarterback Matthew Stafford should be excited to turn him loose and help the offense return to elite form in 2021.