By all accounts, LA Rams Stafford to Cooper Kupp still deadly accurate

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Cooper Kupp Van Jefferson
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Two familiar faces

There were only two wide receivers who played through the entire 2021 NFL season for the LA Rams offense. They were veteran WR Cooper Kupp and second-year WR Van Jefferson. Both receivers benefitted from that dependability in huge ways. But before we go down the path of showering Cooper Kupp’s historically significant NFL season, let’s visit just how much Van Jefferson meant for the team in the 2021 NFL season.

While the LA Rams typically do not offer much of a rotational role for rookie receivers, Van Jefferson showed some promise. Not only did he put up 220 yards and a touchdown in the regular season, but he hauled in six of seven passes for 46 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs. So the hope was to generate about 500 yards and four touchdowns in his second season.

Jefferson exploded in year two

Instead, Jefferson improved his yards per reception average by 50 percent, his touchdown output by 600 percent, his total yards by 400 percent, and his yards per target by 22 percent. Only his catch percentage dropped by 10 percent, but that can easily be explained by the fact that Jefferson was called upon to catch deeper passes.

And he is a wise choice. Although 6-foot-1 and 200-pounds, his 4.43-second 40-time affords him deceptively swift speed to test the back end of defenses. Compare that to the 4.51-second 40-time of Robert Woods, the 4.62-second 40-time of Cooper Kupp, and the 4.68-second 40-time of Ben Skowronek.  Only DeSean Jackson’s 4.35-second 40-time and Tutu Atwell’s 4.32-second 40-time are faster. But Tutu Atwell and DeSean Jackson are too small to be effective blockers, and neither was with the team a full season in 2021.

So the role of deep-threat defaulted to Jefferson, and he grew rapidly into the role.  It’s clear that he has a much higher upside, and the hope is that in his third season with the team he can explode into a 1000+ yard 10+ TD type receiver. But the Rams have another ace up their sleeve. He is named Cooper Kupp. How good can he be in 2022?  Better than the brochure, that’s for sure.