The LA Rams seem to have found their franchise running back in soon-to-be third-year rusher Kyren Williams. Not to sound alarmist, but the Rams front office may have reasons to address the running back position once more in the 2024 NFL Draft. How can I say that? Well, as we are often reminded, two dissimilar statements can be true at the same time. Now, let's dive into the Rams running back room:
The LA Rams had to toggle the running backs quite a bit in 2023. Featured running back Kyren Williams suited up for just 12 of 17 available games. While the Week 18 absence was a coaching decision, the fact of his appearance in only 70.5 percent of the games in the 2023 NFL season should not be glossed over.
Despite only getting minor work in 2023, backup RB Royce Freeman appeared in 14 of 17 games last season. Ultimately, the LA Rams feature running back has to possess a great deal of durability. In two seasons with the LA Rams, Kyren Williams has been able to suit up for 22 of 34 games. That works out to just under 2/3rds of the available games.
Darrell Henderson Jr.
Darrell Henderson Jr.
The thing is, players tend to be at their healthiest in their first two NFL seasons. And I have consistently pointed out that the LA Rams needed to be cautious if relying upon injury-prone players to start on the offensive line. Durability is a major factor in success.
Don't try to interpret this as tossing shade at Kyren Williams. I'm not. The interchangeability of a running back is far different from that of one player in a five-man offensive line. But there is some value in the assurance that the LA Rams address adequate depth at a position that required the team to sign former Rams RB Darrell Henderson Jr. off the streets to suit up for the team for four games in 2023.
We know that the Rams had veteran RB Royce Freeman on the roster. But what hindered the team giving some playing time to rookie RB Zach Evans? And does it make sense for the Rams to backup Kyren Williams (5-foot-9, 194 pounds) with Ronnie Rivers, who is essentially his doppleganger (5-foot-9, 195 pounds)?
The Rams expect both veteran RB Royce Freeman and Ronnie Rivers' contracts to expire as the team enters 2024. If the Rams opt not to extend either player, the Rams will need to shop for a new running back. If there are doubts as to whether Zach Evans can step up in 2024, the onus is on the Rams to add a true RB2 to the roster. Even if Evans is considered ready to go for 70+ snaps this season, the Rams need to consider adding a third running back to help share the load. If the Rams do not extend Royce Freeman, then a bigger bodied rusher makes the most sennse.
As we continue to inspect the Rams roster heading into the 2024 NFL season, the more we find in areas that need to be addressed in the 2024 NFL Draft or NFL Free Agency market. Thankfully, the Rams have the resources to do so this year. But how will the team address these positions this year is a looming question.