Some progress, some more patience
Given this list a quick overview, I can see that defensive players did, in fact, end up contributing for the most part after all. While somewhat limited at times, defensive rookies like Ernest Jones, Robert Rochell, Chris Garrett, and Bobby Brown had all seen some playing time in their rookie seasons, albeit on various levels.
Only Earnest Brown IV had been relegated to the team’s practice squad, as much as the competition for a roster spot than any of his own shortcomings. Coach Eric Henderson wants his players who make the football field to be ultimately prepared for what they’ll face. I think Earnest Brown makes significant progress this year. Blind faith in the second-year defensive end? More like a proven track record of one of the best positional coaches in the NFL.
But it’s that offensive side of the football that seems to be a bit more challenging. The Rams seemed to load up on offensive weapons that were limited to special teams’ play. That is not to say that offensive rookies did not end up playing a smattering of 10-20 offensive plays, but there did not seem to be much traction on any of the four players chosen.
Did the problem begin in 2020 with the addition of rookie tight end Brycen Hopkins? After all, he is a player who has been on the team’s roster for two years but failed to contribute on offense until Super Bowl LVI. His four catches of four passes thrown his way gained 47 yards and helped the Rams move the chains under incredible pressure. Is Hopkins ready for NFL play now? Or was that a one-off game, and he will fall to anonymity again?
So there are plenty of opportunities awaiting each of these players in 2022?
Now, let’s place the 2021 NFL Draft class under the microscope. All of the original draft assessments can be found in LA Rams NFL Draft 2021: A deep-dive dissection of all selections by Jay Blucher. The revised projections are based on what we know today.