Bigger bodied back
Even now, Funk is moving up in the ranks. As a rookie, he arrived at the LA Rams organization as the fifth or even sixth running back on the depth chart. After the injury to Cam Akers, he advanced. Now, as the Rams emphasize finding a partner in rushing with Darrell Henderson, bigger-bodied running back who can handle rushing between the tackles are being prioritized. That narrows the focus to Xavier Jones and Jake Funk.
So with the likelihood of rotating three running backs, that means that Jake Funk is all but assured of a spot on the 53-man roster, right? Not so fast. You can expect the LA Rams to be scanning the waiver wires to any player who is cut and who might be a boost to the team’s running attack. In fact, the LA Rams already showed how easily that can be done when the team signed undrafted rookie running back Otis Anderson Jr. Per the NFL Draft rankings at NFL.com, Funk was the 20th best prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. Otis Anderson Jr. was the 29th-ranked prospect.
18 running backs were drafted in 2021. One fullback was drafted. That all means that there is a strong likelihood that some highly regarded rookies and veterans will be hard-pressed to survive cuts as NFL teams look to get down to the 53-man limit. For that matter, a reunion with running back Malcolm Brown could occur if he doesn’t stick with the Dolphins roster.
Funk is not just competing with players on the Rams roster, but with every potential running back who may be waived. That’s a lot of competition, and one reason why he, and well as Xavier Jones, will need to show up strong in preseason games. Funk may have lingering concerns about his knees. But that is for another day. Right now he must prove to the team that he can become a productive part of this offense