With so many veteran WRs, can LA Rams develop WRs for the future?
By Bret Stuter
In terms of the LA Rams passing game, the Rams depth chart appears to be set for at least the top three wide receivers on the roster. Cooper Kupp is the LA Rams’ primary receiving target. Newly signed veteran Allen Robinson will almost certainly slide in as the team’s secondary receiving target. Third-year receiver Van Jefferson, who is poised to break into the 1000 yards receiving club, is the third target on the Rams roster.
If the LA Rams are successful and re-sign veteran WR Odell Beckham Jr this year, he will likely compete with Jefferson for the third receiver on the depth chart, with the other player taking over at the fourth wide receiver set.
Now, where do all of the LA Rams’ young receivers fit in?
That’s a very good question.
Behind the Big 4, the LA Rams depth chart stands a host of talented youngsters, all of whom would love nothing better than to earn a spot on this roster. For now, I am not including TE/WR Jacob Harris, as the Rams WR room appears quite saturated with the current players. Who are they?
- Name Yrs Ht. Weight
- Ben Skowronek 2 6-3 223 lbs
- Brandon Powell* 5 5-8 181 lbs
- Tutu Atwell 2 5-9 165 lbs
- J.J. Koski 1 6-1 195 lbs
- Warren Jackson 1 6-6 219 lbs
- Landen Akers 1 6-0 191 lbs
- Lance McCutcheon R 6-3 202 lbs
That is a lot of talent. Too many for what is realistically a battle for as few as two roster spots. So who gets what? For starters, you have to consider the impact that WR/PR/KR Brandon Powell has on special teams. Unless some other player can guarantee his electrifying returns on punts and kickoffs, I would say that his return is almost a certainty.
Brandon Powell: 95 percent chance to make the roster.
The LA Rams descended down their depth chart very quickly in 2021, getting to Ben Skowronek by Week 8 of the season. While he only caught 11 of the 20 passes thrown his way, he was entrusted to play 178 offensive snaps. That means that he was blocking and route running for the team at a fairly regular clip one year ago.
Ben Skowronek: 80 percent chance to make the roster
Fans are already complaining about the amount of press that second-year Tutu Atwell is getting, but when any player is selected with the first draft pick available for that team, the investment warrants a bit of monitoring. Reports so far are very positive, but this is still track season isn’t it? No pads, no contact. This could be a tough call for the LA Rams coaching staff if they do re-sign Odell Beckham Jr.
Tutu Atwell: 70 percent chance to make the roster
The LA Rams have kept J.J. Koski around on the practice squad, and for all intents and purposes, he could start off the season on the practice squad again. But if anything happens to a wide receiver, he could be the first to be activated for game day. If he has that opportunity to play and takes advantage of it, he could see a larger role in the offense.
J.J. Koski: 95 percent chance to make the practice squad.
Warren Jackson is so uniquely positioned to be either a solid find for the team or a player who parts ways without any fanfare. I love the size, as any receiver who stands at 6-foot-5 or taller simply has a vertical advantage, and the Rams have too few players who stand that tall. While he has the opportunity to shine on the Rams roster, he will need to showcase not only his own abilities but the benefit of having a tall receiver on the football field.
Warren Jackson: 40 percent chance to make the practice squad.
Landen Akers is that LA Rams roster duct tape, a player whose versatility to plug into catching passes, returning punts or kickoffs, or even covering punts or kickoffs continues to niche out a spot for him. He is a trooper, a player who hangs around on the practice squad but who may not find many doors opening for him to the active roster. That can all change with a solid preseason.
Landen Akers: 50 percent chance to make the practice squad.
Lance McCutcheon is another wide receiver who is incredibly intriguing, as he is so very versatile and has unique skillsets. He is a good-sized receiver who runs great routes. That will get him a chance with the Rams offense. But his draft profile suggests he hasn’t learned how to block, which is a strike against him in the Rams offense. If he can get more muscular, more physical, and learn how to block, he has a chance. If not, well he may not hang around on the Rams roster.
Lance McCutcheon: 20 percent chance to make the practice squad.
The LA Rams will have a formidable troop of wide receivers on the football field. But we learned quickly that a pattern of injuries can burn the team through the depth chart very quickly. While training camp may not improve the position of any player on the depth chart, but it could alter the order of their being called up to the active roster should an opening occur.
There are simply too many good players for the number of roster spots at wide receiver. That ensures great competition in training camp.