The Los Angeles Rams have built one of the best rosters on paper in the NFL through several trades this offseason. They still need to develop some chemistry together and put all the superstars in the right place to succeed. It is difficult to do that with the number of spotlight players the Rams have on their roster.
Here are the best players on the Rams roster and some predictions for this season.
Best Skilled Offensive Player
Gurley is a big, powerful running back with the ability to break off the long run. Unlike most big-play running backs, Gurley isn’t going to take as many negative run plays. Gurley led the league last season in rushing touchdowns (13), all-purpose yards (2,093) and yards from scrimmage (2,093). In three seasons, he has 3,296 rushing yards, 29 rushing touchdowns, 4.2 yards per carry, 128 catches, 1,303 receiving yards, six receiving touchdowns, 4,599 all-purpose yards, 4,599 yards from scrimmage and 35 total touchdowns. He has been named to the Pro Bowl twice, First-Team All-Pro once, AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, AP Offensive Player of the Year, All-Rookie Team and the NFL’s Top 100 list twice.
Best Offensive Lineman
Whitworth has developed into one of the top left tackles in the league over the last few seasons. He was drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2006 season. He didn’t start immediately but was the full-time starter by the end of the season. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that he became a star. He was named his first Pro Bowl. Since that season, he has been named to three more Pro Bowls, to the First-Team All-Pro twice and NFL’s Top 100 list twice. He signed a three-year deal with the Rams prior to the last offseason at 35-years-old.
Best Pass Rusher
Donald is the most disruptive and explosive interior defensive lineman in the NFL. He had 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery last season. In his four-year NFL career, Donald has amassed 204 combined tackles, 39 sacks, nine forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and nine passes defensed. He has been named First-Team All-Pro three times, Pro Bowl four times, NFL’s Top 100 list four times, AP Defensive Rookie of the Year once, NFL All-Rookie Team once and AP Defensive Player of the Year once. Donald is currently holding out for the second consecutive season for a multi-year deal that would make him the highest paid defensive player.
Best Pass Defender
Talib is a big and fast shutdown corner. He can take away one-third of the field just by being on the field. He may be slowing down, but still has the ability to mirror receivers. Talib has amassed 34 interceptions, 117 passes defensed, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 430 combined tackles in 10 NFL seasons. He was named First-Team All-Pro once, Pro Bowl five times and NFL’s Top 100 list four times.
Johnson is in an envious position. He is starting in a secondary with Talib, Marcus Peters and Lamarcus Joyner. Johnson is a very good athlete with good tackling ability. He will have a lot of opportunities to make plays as opposing offenses try to avoid the bigger name defensive backs on the team.
Best New Addition
The Rams hoped Sammy Watkins would be a big play, downfield receiver when they acquired him from the Bills just under a year ago. However, Watkins did not work out as planned. This offseason, they hope Cooks can do what Watkins could not. The difference between the two players is that Cooks has a more proven track record. Cooks should be able to stretch the field and create big plays for everyone on the Rams offense.
Not So Out On A Limb Prediction
The Rams will repeat as NFC West champions.
The Rams have the best roster in the division. On paper, they should win it by a couple games. The Seahawks are going to take a step back at some point with all the changes they have made over the last calendar year, but they still have Russell Wilson. The 49ers are going to be a lot better with Jimmy Garoppolo, but still, have some work to do. The Cardinals are aging but still have the star power. The Rams are the favorite to win the division.
The Rams will not have a top 10 offense in 2018.
The Rams were 10th in the league in yards per game last season with first-year head coach Sean McVay and first-year starting quarterback Jared Goff. They also had the No. 1 scoring offense by more than a full point per game over anyone else in the league. With a year of experience and the addition of Cooks, many believe the group will be better. They may be right, but one thing that cannot be overlooked is how they were effective on offense last season. McVay was reading the defense and calling the play late in the play clock for Goff and the rest of the group. Opposing teams will be better prepared for it this season. The entire unit will take a step back as they adjust to the adjustments made by defensive coordinators. The Rams will struggle at times and it will keep them from getting back into the top 10 on offense.