Best depth the LA Rams have enjoyed under Coach McVay at this position?

Los Angeles Rams Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams Sean McVay / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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LA Rams News Rams roster Tyler Higbee
Tyler Higbee Los Angeles Rams / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

I: Tyler Higbee

There are few players with more to prove to the NFL and to the LA Rams organization in the 2023 NFL season than veteran tight end Tyler Higbee. There are many examples of the Rams' offense regressing last season, but this team did everything imaginable to get the ball to Higbee, with almost no effect. What do I mean?

  1. Stat 2021 2022 difference
  2. Targets 85 108 127%
  3. Receptions 61 72 118%
  4. Yards 560 620 110.7%
  5. TDs 5 3 60%

The Rams tried to get more out of Higbee last year, but the result of that focus simply made the job of opposing defenses that much easier, and the effectiveness of more opportunities was lost as a result. In fact, Higbee's 5.7 yards per target was the smallest it had been since the rookie season of his seven year NFL career. And it's that trend that was one of the factors for the Rams offense to plummet in terms of putting points on the scoreboard in 2022.

It's now or never

Higbee remains one of the highest-compensated veteran on the Rams roster. But this is the final season of his current contract, and the Rams have augmented their tight end depth with two rookies. Will this be Higbee's last season as an LA Rams player? He could be gone after 2023, and that is simply the hard truth considering the path that this team is currently trekking.

If that is to happen, the Rams will need to do a much better job of incorporating rookie TE Davis Allen into the offense, rather than the standard practice of simply redshirting the guy for the entirety of his rookie season. What the Rams may do after 2022 is to rescind his preferential role, and simply try to recoup more yards and touchdowns with fewer targets. In this way, the Rams can try to amplify his impact on offense, as well as divvy up some of the offensive opportunities to the younger tight ends waiting in the wings.

Projection: 53-man roster, TE1

Hot. Game-by-game predictions for 2023 LA Rams schedule. dark

Of course, the fortunes of the Rams roster at tight end presumes that the offensive line can and will do their part to keep veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford upright and afford him enough time to find his receivers. I think that can happen this year, but it's nothing tangible. I simply have a good 'gut feeling' about this tight end group that won't allow me to be pessimistic.