III: Re-signing Brandon Powell
While some may not take the signing of wide receiver/punt returner/kick returner Brandon Powell as qualifying for an underrated roster event, that only indicates that it was simply handled by many as a roster signing that was expected. Or perhaps one that nobody cared to fully assess?
The positive news is that the Rams have their special team specialist back on the roster. Before Powell, the Rams attempted to find someone, anyone, who could step up and into the role of kick returner and punt returner in 2021. That included rookie RB Jake Funk and rookie WR Tutu Atwell, both of whom had failed miserably in the role.
Powell could land a role as WR too
Some believe that Powell may lose his role as a returner this year with a renewed second effort by another player on the Rams roster. But I see this going in the opposite direction. Powell was added to the Rams roster mid-season, signed originally to the practice squad, and he was not activated until the team faced the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Powell earned the starting role on the LA Rams special team as the returner by putting up outstanding returns. But because he arrived so late and was quickly claimed by special teams, he didn’t have the chance to work with the Rams offense.
That will change this year, and I think Powell may earn a niche on the offensive side of the ball as well. His ability to run in the shadow of his blockers, pivot on a dime, instantly accelerate to daylight, and make defenders miss him is just as important to a receiver as a returner.