It’s tough to imagine just how much the LA Rams have changed over the course of the past six months, but the changes are dramatic. The Rams’ defense now boasts one of the all-time best inside linebackers in Bobby Wagner. The Rams’ offense now boasts one of the toughest wide receivers actively competing in the NFL. And for the most part, the Rams have most of their core players back from a successful NFL Championship season.
But we all know all too well that the LA Rams did not just win from the stellar play of a handful of players, but from a roster that continued to find ways to win, and players on that roster who would become keys to those wins. Tight end Kendall Blanton was one such player.
He was signed to the Rams roster after the 2019 NFL Draft, a young man with intriguing size and power out of the University of Missouri. He was a young man who was eager to win a spot on the LA Rams roster, finally accomplishing that objective in 2021.
He was used lightly by the Rams, a fill-in after tight end Johnny Mundt was lost to the team to injury, and he struggled to make much of an impact. But he stepped up in a big way for the Rams in the NFL Playoffs, catching 7 of 7 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. It was the type of performance that sometimes triggers a far more successful NFL season the following season.
Kendall Blanton’s quest to find a new NFL team
But while it marked the crest of his NFL career so far, nobody expected that the descent on the other side of that ridge would be so steep. Blanton was released by the LA Rams in the second wave of roster cuts. It didn’t take long before he was claimed off waivers, by the NFC East Washington Commanders.
The move makes sense for the Commanders, whose tight end room has been ravaged so far by injuries.
Blanton may stick with the Commanders, but it won’t be easy. He will need to learn enough of the Washington Commanders’ offense in time to show up in the box score in their third and final preseason contest against the Baltimore Ravens. All the while, he will also need to do the things that he does best: Blocking.
Blanton’s fit with the Commanders offense feels more numerical than philosophical. Washington needs tight ends to compensate for the numerous injuries to their tight ends so far. That means that unless Blanton makes an instant impression, he may be back on the street hoping for another shot.
Blanton deserves a spot on an NFL roster. But with offenses like that of the LA Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, and even Detroit Lions more closely resembling that of the LA Rams, I’m not convinced that he will find a home in Washington.