Fragility of 5 Rams veterans can open door for backups to earn starting roles

Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams / Harry How/GettyImages
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TE Colby Parkinson

While the passing of the baton of starting tight end from the grasp of veteran TE Tyler Higbee to his successor may be difficult to imagine right now, the reality of his health and age makes a compelling argument that the sunset of his NFL career is in sight. That's not simply some alarmist doom-and-gloom prophecy to stir up some drama, it's the foregone conclusion by the team's front office at the moment that the team inked a three-year, $22.5 million deal with former Seattle Seahawks tight end Colby Parkinson.

Parkinson certainly looks the part of a worthy successor for Tyler Higbee. Standing 6-foot-7 and weighing 265 pounds, this behemoth rivals the size and power of the toughest NFL offensive tackles. That will come in very handy for Parkinson in this offense, as the Rams love to take full advantage of the tight end in blocking. While Parkinson is an excellent blocker, it's his pass catching ability, and the potential to become an unstoppable scorer in the red zone that creates enthusiasm over him among Rams coaches.

in the past two seasons, Parkinson has caught 50 of 68 passes thrown his way for 569 yards, 25 first downs, and four touchdowns. That is a catch rate of 73.5 percent, and that can only be expected to improve with more offensive snaps and starts in this offense.

While Parkinson holds the pole position in competing for a temporary or permanent starting role on the offense, do not ignore the surging stock of second year tight end Davis Allen. Allen delivered on all cylinders for the team in his rookie season, and it only makes sense for his workload to increase in 2024.

RB Blake Corum

It's hard to view rookie running back Blake Corum as a backup rusher who need some ill-fated event to his teammate Kyren Williams to trigger an opportunity for him to see the football field this season. From early reports out of OTAs and mini camp, Corum has put on a display of a mature, polished veteran who will be very tough to get off the football field this season.

Even as the Rams strategize right-sizing the workload for featured RB Kyren Williams, rookie running back Blake Corum will play a huge role in how this offense manages to remain just as dangerous overall, just as effective at running the football, while ensuring that Williams remains healthy and fresh for the entire 2024 NFL season. In theory, that will either translate into the team splitting the workload evenly on a game by game basis.

Or, and this could be an advantageous wrinkle, the team could alternate feature Kyren Williams in one week, while featuring Blake Corum the following week.

In either scenario, the objective is to lighten Williams load by hitching up Blake Corum to running the football this season.