Here's how Rams may have put special back into their special teams
By Bret Stuter
When the LA Rams entered the 2023 NFL Draft with an incredibly long shopping list, two things were both true at the same time. Firstly, the LA Rams needed to address their special teams at some point. The second thing is that the Rams could not commit three draft picks from their original 11 that they entered the draft with in order to address their special teams needs.
Something had to give. That something was drafting a punter, and then adding a kicker and long snapper after the draft. Let's go with the punter first:
Rams do their homework
It's a pretty cruel trick to pull on the new Special Teams Coordinator Chase Blackburn to hire him and then make him was as the team lets all of the special teams' specialists sign elsewhere in free agency. Well, that may be a blessing in disguise, because the Rams selected a Division II punter out of Wingate, Ethan Evans. It's never a comfortable feeling when your team drafts a player and there is nothing readily available about him.
But as I began to learn about Evans, I quickly warmed up to the guy who has built a reputation on incredible hang time
Best of all, this was clearly a Chase Blackburn directed pick, as we learned from Peter Schrager afterwards.
That's a great thing to hear, that the ST Coordinator, whose job is clearly on the line, got his guy right out of the gate. And to be fair, I was not even aware of just how proficient Ethan Evans is at punting the football. But the crash course of the past 24 hours has done more than just calm my fears. It's given me eager anticipation to see this guy play.
Just for kicks, go get the best college place kicker
The LA Rams job was not over just yet. Even after the 2023 NFL Draft ended, the Rams had to find a placeker.
So that is exactly what they did as the signed NC State placekicker Christopher Dunn after the draft as an undrafted free agent.
The Rams have to be pleased at this point in time. I know that I certainly feel much better. Of course, signed and drafted does not mean playing proficiently. We all learned that hard lesson in 2020 after rifling through five placekickers on the was to finding K Matt Gay.
Even as the Rams like add more players for competition in training camp, one thing is certain. The LA Rams have certainly gotten off on the right foot in terms of settling their special team roster needs.