TE Brycen Hopkins
The LA Rams drafted Purdue Boilermakers tight end, Brycen Hopkins, with the 136th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-4 245-pound big boy from the Big-Ten was brought to the team as a strategic replacement for the anticipated exodus of teammate Gerald Everett.
He saw action on just two offensive plays in 2020, and a bit of work on special teams. But even that light bit of usage has evaporated in 2021. Some reports have indicated that he is not quite the blocker that the Rams expect from their tight ends. Well, that could pose a problem, couldn’t it?
This moment is clearly a defining moment for Hopkins’ future with the LA Rams now. Either he steps up and fills the TE2 role, or he is simply wasting the Rams’ time by occupying a roster spot. It’s as simple as that. I mean, isn’t that why he is on the team’s roster? If he does not step up now, then when?
Why he won’t work
The LA Rams need a blocker, a tough-minded sonofagun who loves to mix it up in the trenches. They also need a dependable outlet receiver, a guy who may not get many targets, but who is expected to catch the balls that are thrown his way. He has been on the Rams roster for his now second season, and yet he has not been involved in either the offense or special teams?
Sometimes players do not meet their pre-draft profiles. There are those occasions where even the best scouts and data analytics simply miss on a player. The Rams have hit on plenty of players, but perhaps Hopkins simply is not going to work out for them?
Why he will work
Let’s look at this the other way. If he is that bad, then why did he end up making the team’s 53-man roster? He has been on the shelf for just such an event, so why keep him on the bench? Hopkins flashed an ability to catch passes in the preseason, and all that potential has been placed into limbo. Well, no more.
Tyler Higbee is adept at pass-catching and blocking. While Brycen Hopkins proves the ability to block, Higbee can handle some of those duties as well. There is something to be said about the ‘now-or-never,’ pressure that is upon Hopkins. The Rams clearly need him to step up. If he does not do so, the front office knows what must be done before the 2022 NFL season begins.