Trust the front office, young padawan
The University of Central Florida Knights is a blossoming college football program and continues to draw ever-increasing interest from NFL teams each year. The fact is that the program delivers NFL-capable talent on a regular basis, and forgoes national championships at times to optimize players’ chances in the pros.
Per his 2021 NFL Draft profile, Anderson was given shiny compliments, with the only drawback being the size that doesn’t scream every-down running back. Well here’s a newsflash, folks. That smaller version of versatile player seems to be a niche that holds great interest for the LA Rams. After all, the Rams have Darrell Henderson and Raymond Calais, so why go back to the well for a third time if durability was ever a concern? These Rams have been at this a while, and clearly trust what their data says over the general data at play.
The Rams envision Anderson as a strong competitor on special teams, a plug-n-play return specialist who has enough chops all over the offense to deliver reasons for offensive snaps as well. It’s pretty clear that the LA Rams are rethinking their entire roster strategy, and infusing versatility and athleticism whenever and wherever possible. But this young man is not the fastest in the RB room, so what gives?
Don’t stand on track meets to define who can play. There is a path for those running backs/wide receivers/return specialists who can carve an impressive career path by being good at multiple roles. New York Giants’ Dave Meggett is one such player, Darren Sproles is another such player. Meggett scored 27 touchdowns over 10 seasons, while Sproles put up 64 touchdowns over 14 seasons. So yes, it can work.
In four seasons with UCF, Anderson rushed 358 times for 2,182 yards and 17 touchdowns and caught 91 passes for 1,025 yards and nine touchdowns. He also returned 39 punts for 478 yards and one touchdown. That’s a very solid production for a young man who rotated into various roles. Can he develop further in the NFL? The LA Rams seem to think so.
Still unconvinced? That’s okay. We just put this out there to let anyone interested in doing so keep Otis Anderson on the radar screen. And if you don’t? Just remember that you heard it here first. That will come in handy when he lights it up in a preseason game, and you are scrambling to answer the question “Who is that guy?”