Next man up, LA Rams running back Zach Evans readies for 1st NFL start

LA Rams' starting running back Kyren Williams suffered an ankle sprain in Week 6, and rookie Zach Evans is expected to have a role in Week 7 versus Pittsburgh
Ole Miss v Texas A&M
Ole Miss v Texas A&M / Tim Warner/GettyImages

The LA Rams ran wild in Week 6. But the question that faces LA Rams fans now is: What comes next?

An electric second half from the LA Rams featured running back Kyren Williams in a Week 6 win has come with a bit of a sting. You see, it was revealed today, October 16, 2023, that the second-year running back hurt his ankle in the second half against the Cardinals. LA Rams second-string running back Ronnie Rivers exited the game with a PCL sprain and is expected to miss four to six weeks, per Ian Rappaport.

In Rapaport's update, he mentioned that Rivers could be placed on IR. These two injuries could pave the way for a rookie rusher. Yes, I am referring to LA Rams 2023 NFL Draft sixth-round pick Zach Evans, who could get his first NFL start and lead the Rams' backfield in week seven.

Who is Zach Evans?

Evans started his college career at TCU and then transferred to Mississippi for his junior season. Zach is a walking explosive player at 5-foot-11 and 202 pounds. He averaged 6.9 yards per carry across his college career, according to In 12 games at Ole Miss, Evans totaled 936 rushing yards, 119 receiving yards, and ten touchdowns. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry in his lone season at Ole Miss.

Evans was the first five-star recruit to commit to TCU in program history. His Horned Frog career was decimated due to injuries, which led to his transfer. Evans' injury history is the reason he fell to the sixth round. Zach has the size and explosiveness to make plays in the NFL. Evans was the ninth-ranked running back on's 2023 draft analysis. Head coach Sean McVay and the Rams could have a hidden gem in Zach Evans.


LA Rams head coach Sean McVay can be scarce with rushing attempts. For example, in the first half against the Cardinals, the LA Rams offense ran just four run plays. It was not until the Rams committed to running the football that the momentum in the game turned in the Rams' favor.

Evans is the next man up on the depth chart, but expect Royce Freeman to be elevated from the practice squad for the matchup with the Steelers. The Rams can become one-dimensional with Matthew Stafford and must prioritize the run. Pittsburgh allows 4.8 yards per carry, sixth most in the NFL, according to Zach Evans gets a solid matchup for his likely first career NFL start.

Evans will be explosive each time he receives the ball. He fights for the extra yard and has elusive tendencies. Sean McVay will likely give Freeman his share of carries, but Evans will get to show his skills next week. Zach totaled ten yards on four carries against Arizona in week five following Ronnie Rivers's exit due to injury. With a week of preparation, expect Evans to come out firing against the Steelers. Coach McVay will have an opportunity to scheme Evans into the game plan and utilize his unique skillset.

Around ten carries is a realistic expectation for Evans on Sunday against the Steelers. The game flow will determine how many touches the rookie will get. If Evans shows he's up for the task of being an NFL running back early, McVay will keep feeding him. The Rams ran nine consecutive run plays to open the second half against Arizona, which led to a Stafford passing touchdown. Coach McVay is not afraid to lean on his running backs, it seems.


Rams fans should be excited about Zach Evans getting an opportunity to step into a prominent role. Sometimes, all a sixth-round pick needs is a chance and runs with it. Although Kyren Williams is expected to miss minimal time, Evans could prove he's worthy of the RB2 position moving forward due to the severity of Ronnie Rivers' injury. Rams fans will see their newest running back in action on Sunday against the Steelers.