With the rookie running backs, I think Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jonathan Taylor and D’Andre Swift will be the first three chosen. But I like the situation that Cam Akers is heading into more. I think he might be the best of the first-year runners.
If you want to look not at the running back but at the quality of the players around him, I think Akers wins that argument. Malcolm Brown has been able to carve out a five-year career, and good for him – it’s a nice story. But he’s not a starter-caliber back. He’s a backup and special teams guy – a former undrafted free agent. And the only other notable back there is Darrell Henderson, who ripped off a bunch of long runs at Memphis but is a smaller guy who hasn’t done much yet at the pro level – could be more of a change-of-pace guy.
With the offseason activities getting scrubbed, I can’t guarantee Akers will start on opening day, but I think he’ll be in the starting lineup before long.
I also like Los Angeles’ offense. With Sean McVay overseeing the whole thing, I have confidence they’ll be making an effort to run it. He’s not going to pull an Adam Gase.
The Rams didn’t run the ball as well last year. That might partially be attributed to opponents doing a better job of defending them – looking, perhaps, at how New England played them in the Super Bowl. But the offensive line was probably the bigger factor, with a lot of injuries, and I suspect it will be more effective in 2020.
And when the ball gets near the end zone, I don’t worry about getting cheated. McVay will call lots of running plays in that part of the field.
For all the Rams’ struggles last year, they still ran the ball 33 times inside the 5-yard line – the same as their Super Bowl season and more than the previous year.
Over the last 3 years, Los Angeles has run the ball 90 times when its been inside the 5, 2nd-most in the league.
Once they get Akers up to speed, I think he’ll be their main ball carrier in that part of the field.
|TEAM WITH 20 RUNS INSIDE THE 5 (last 3 years)|