5 outlandish Rams options for kickoff returns with new 2024 rules debut

Chase Blackburn
Chase Blackburn / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The LA Rams face a new set of kickoff rules that has prompted wild speculation about how the team might handle kickoff coverage and return units. While I am tempted to bet donuts to dollars that the team signed veteran RB Boston Scott to lead the team in returning kickoffs and punts this season, the door remains open for trick plays and surprise options for the team to add mystery, shock, and the ever-popular drama to an aspect of the game that has been a focus of dramatic concerns with the option to attempt an onsides kick.

So how can the creative minds on the team's coaching staff restore the drama of kickoff returns throughout the game? Perhaps considering trick plays with a player the opposing team would never suspect as a kickoff return specialist.

Why not this strongman?

The LA Rams selected interior offensive lineman Beaux Limmer in the 2024 NFL Draft, and based on projections of his draft profile, the team managed to get him far later than draft analysts expected. While he may be the most powerful player on the Rams roster now (with Aaron Donald retired), he stands 6-foot-5, weighs 312 pounds, and is as strong as an ox. Imagine coverage guys bouncing off him as he lumbers forward for positive yards.

He is a Hoecht of an option

Surprisingly, DL/OLB Michael Hoecht does have one kickoff return to his credit with the team. And with the team seeking ways to make use of a defensive lineman with running back speed, perhaps returning kickoffs on a part-time basis is his forte. He certainly would be a tough guy to tackle, as he is 6-foot-4 and 267 pounds.

He may be the biggest thing to hit NFL kickoff returns in 2024

The LA Rams signed TE Colby Parkinson to reinforce the tight end position in the likely event that starting TE Tyler Higbee is not a full go when the 2024 NFL season begins. But could the team make use of the 6-foot-5, 265-pound offensive weapon in other ways this season? Like the other players mentioned so far, Parkinson brings huge size and power to the role. That could be quite a challenge for opposing teams to manage in coverage.

A bulldog of an option?

While some do not see Rams backup quarterback Stetson Bennett as a someday NFL starting quarterback, could he be a wildcard variable for the kickoff return team in 2024? I mean, what kickoff return team would be equipped to handle a dual-threat quarterback who can run or lateral the football effectively? We already know that some teams have touted their quarterback in the role. Would Bennett be the Rams' solution if that tactic proves successful?

Time-time for Tutu?

It's pretty clear that the Rams have struggled to harness the speed of WR Tutu Atwell in any meaningful manner on offense. So, why not a change of plans for the team, and give him a real shot at returning kickoffs in 2024? At one point, Atwell was projected in a special team role as a rookie. Now that he is no longer intimidated by the NFL, is it time to revisit the experiment?

This Verse-atile player could be secret weapon to Rams kickoff returns

Rams rookie outside linebacker Jared Verse has openly and publicly lobbied for the kickoff return role. Perhaps it has been merely to showcase his passion and enthusiasm for the game of football.

But does it make sense? Well, it makes as much sense as the other lumbering powerhouses listed previously. And the fact that he wants the job is an added bonus.

The Rams could harness their rookie sensation in the role on a temporary and under scenario-specific conditions to get him rather involved in more plays out of the gates. And he certainly has the power and speed that would make his presence very formidable at returning kickoffs at key moments in the game.

Any of these players could be effective change-of-pace options for the team this year as kickoff returners. Will the team explore using one or more of them?

As always, thanks for reading.