Option II: RB David Johnson
Sometimes the best answer is the simplest one. The LA Rams’ options for their ground game offense continue to dwindle, as the team fights another barrage of injuries at the position. The Rams have already placed both rookie RB Kyren Williams (twice) and practice squad RB Trey Ragas on their injured reserve list.
The team currently holds RB Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson Jr., and Jake Funk on the active roster. The team also has 5-9, 195-pound rookie running back Ronnie Rivers on the practice squad. With the exception of Rivers, all Rams running backs are coming off significant injuries one year ago.
Making matters worse, no running back is taller than 5-foot-10, weighs more than 217-pounds, or is known as a particularly powerful runner. That may not be the Rams’ cup of tea right now, as the team’s most recently signed rusher continues the trend towards smaller and elusive type runners.
The LA Rams need a guy who can run the ball into the end zone on short yardage, can get the first down to move the chains, and can hammer at the opposing defense late in the game to control the clock and preserve the win. And for now, I believe that RB David Johnson would fit that niche role quite well.
He is a seven-year veteran running back who was named All-Pro in 2016 while playing for the Arizona Cardinals. His ability to run for tough yards is well documented, but it overshadows his incredible versatility as a weapon in the passing game as well.
In seven seasons, Johnson has rushed 995 times for 4,047 yards and 39 touchdowns. But over that same period, he has caught 273 of 397 passes for 2,758 yards and 18 touchdowns. With Johnson, you are getting the full monty: Running, pass blocking, and pass-catching.
Does he fit what the Rams want to do on offense? Well if I mean gaining yards on the ground, scoring an average of 8+ touchdowns per season, and giving veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford a sure-fire safety valve receiver? Then yes, I do. And he knows the NFC West very well.
While he may not be a 300-carry running back, he would certainly add potential and respect to the LA Rams’ rushing attack. The Rams need help running the ball, and the LA Rams could sign him today, and should.