While the narrative of an LA Rams offense that is depleted of weapons has been the common tale describing the Rams this offseason, I don't particularly agree with that assessment. In fact, I'm sure that I don't. While the Rams have historically competed with a overwhelming number of established veterans in the past, this year's iteration that blends both veterans and rookies is no less talented or dangerous. It's simply, less proven.
The challenge is that, due to an offense that featured veterans for so long, younger player simply did not get the work, the experience, or the exposure to be trusted by NFL analysts who check out the box score, watch one or two game highlight reels, and call it good. That method would lead many to conclude that the Rams offense has few weapons, as so few players had good season.
Even those who follow the LA Rams have questions about this team. After all, everyone the planet knows that starting quarterback Matthew Stafford is back to full health, and he will be looking to throw to WR Cooper Kupp on practically every play. But who will be the second WR target? That will probably be WR Van Jefferson. Which WR will be targeted after that? Well, it could either be Ben Skowronek or Tutu Atwell. You see where this is going, right?
WR Tyler Johnson brings veteran experience to a young receiver room
While WR Tyler Johnson may not 'feel,' like a significant addition to the LA Rams roster, don't be too hasty to judge what he could bring to the Rams offense. After all, he has played in 33 games with six starts, caught 48 of 72 passes thrown his way for 529 yards and two touchdowns. And he has 905 NFL offense snaps under his belt.
So what? Well, let's go down and compare that experience with all other wide receivers on the LA Rams roster who are not named Cooper Kupp or Van Jefferson:
- Tyler Johnson | 33 games | 6 starts | 905 snaps | 72 tgts | 48 catches | 529 yards | 2 TDs
- Ben Skowronek | 28 games | 12 starts | 874 snaps | 81 tgts | 50 catches | 509 yards | 0 TDs
- Tutu Atwell | 21 games | 4 starts | 318 snaps | 35 tgts | 18 catches | 298 yards | 1 TD
- Lance McCutcheon and Austin Trammell are both under 10 tgts
As you can see, Tyler Johnson's body of work rivals that of Ben Skowronek. But is he just a camp body? Or does he have a shot at contributing to the LA Rams offense in 2023.
Rams fine eye for talent
The LA Rams seem to have a knack for finding and signing quality economical talent to the roster. The Rams added free agent offensive linemen Matt Skura, Ty Nsekhe, and Oday Aboushi during the 2022 NFL season to plug roster holes created by a never ending stream of injuries. While they were not Pro Bowlers, they did play well enough to keep the Rams going.
The Rams also signed DT Larrell Murchison, who debuted with a pair of quarterback sacks. In just three games, he recorded six tackles and two QB sacks. So what makes Tyler Johnson special? Well, besides his experience, that is.
Johnson is 6-foot-1 and weighs 206 pounds, a solid size for an NFL receiver. His best NFL games came against the Chicago Bears (4 of 6 for 61 yards), the LA Rams (3 of 6 for 63 yards), and the New Orleans Saints (5 of 6 for 65 yards). While he never put up 100+ yards in a single game, he did see action in six postseason games, including Super Bowl LVI.
His draft profile was very complementary, even to the point of comparing him to A.J. Brown. He caught passes from Tampa Bay Buccaneers veteran quarterback Tom Brady. It makes perfect sense to sign with the Rams and start a new chapter catching passes from Rams veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford.
There is no such thing as a sure thing at this time of year in the NFL. But Tyler Johnson is more than a camp body. I believe that his body of work could propel him onto the LA Rams roster this season.