7 LA Rams players returning in 2023 who you may have forgotten

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Rams Roster Alaric Jackson
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

VI: Offensive tackle

The complaints about the LA Rams having no talent on the roster at the offensive line clearly have not seen the way OT Alaric Jackson has conducted himself whenever he has the chance to play. He is a versatile and capable offensive lineman, who signed on with the LA Rams after the 2021 NFL Draft.

While projected to the middle rounds of Day 3, he never heard his name called in the draft and promptly signed on with the LA Rams. For some, that means he has no talent. But that was a very deep draft class, and by all rights, the Rams have been nothing but completely pleased with the former Iowa Hawkeye. Standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 320 or so pounds, he has the size, power, and instincts to be a bona fide NFL starter.  He got a spot start in 2021 as an undrafted rookie and handled it remarkably well. This season, he played four games as an offensive guard and three games as an offensive tackle, all the while committing two penalties and allowing one quarterback sack.

He could and should be in the mix for a starting role in 2023, as he is not only strong at the line of scrimmage, but when you watch him play, he seeks out secondary and tertiary defenders to knock on their arse downfield as well. And he is returning.

Must Read. LA Rams Draft: Top 50 Rams Big Board for 2023 NFL Draft. light

V: WR Lance McCutcheon

There was quite a bit of buzz over undrafted wide receiver Lance McCutcheon in the 2022 preseason and for good reason. He was often the best receiver on the football field for both teams. But when the regular season began, he was relegated to the LA Rams bench.  In 2022, 17 different players: three tight ends, five running backs, eight wide receivers, and even one linebacker, have caught passes for the LA Rams. But Lance McCutcheon, who has played 41 offensive snaps and been targeted four times, has yet to catch one in a regular season game for the Rams.

But he will be back for the Rams next season and will have another training camp and preseason competition to hone his skills to produce a bit more consistently next year.  Some may not be optimistic, and there is plenty of history to suggest that the Rams may overlook his potential next season as well.

But he has a firey competitive spirit that should get him some chances to catch the football in this offense. And with a year under his belt, he will have fewer distractions of trying to learn his way with a new team and more focus to show what he is capable of on the football field.

IV: TE Brycen Hopkins

The LA Rams have carried tight end, Brycen Hopkins, on the roster for his third season, and that breakout season that everyone has been expecting since the Rams drafted him with the 136th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. In three seasons with the LA Rams, he has played 162 offensive snaps, has been targeted seven times for four catches and 40 yards in the regular season, and four times for four catches and 47 yards in Super Bowl LVI.

So what is it about Hopkins that keeps him off the call sheet for offensive plays? I truly cannot say.

We’ve heard reasons why WR Tutu Atwell has not been used in this offense, and why WR Allen Robinson has not been used in this offense, and the same can be said of Hopkins. The game situations did not suit what the offense had in mind for the guy. In the same year when TE Tyler Higbee is getting the most work in his career, and delivering his worst catch rate of the season, you would think that the Rams would be happy to get Hopkins involved in the offense as well.

Well, Hopkins will return for his final year under his rookie contract, so if the Rams intend to involve him in the offense, it’s truly now or never.