Someone else in the Los Angeles Rams wide receiver room will snatch the bulk of the receptions and yardage on Sunday, November 20 down in New Orleans.
Heavy NFL senior reporter Matt Lombardo helped dive into the theory of who fills for the team’s top wideout and the league’s leader in all three major receiving categories from a season ago in his Friday, November 18 mailbag session.
Rams ‘Content’ in Turning to 2 Names
The Rams are definitely in a position few fans and media pundits never envisioned they’d be in.
“The Los Angeles Rams are in the unenviable position of holding up the rear in the NFC West, with a banged-up Matthew Stafford,” Lombardo first wrote.
A popular choice continues to be a former Ram from the Super Bowl 56 squad. Lombardo, however, doesn’t see OBJ making an impact on the Rams that mirrors his 2021 run.
“And even if Odell Beckham Jr. has L.A. high on his list of potential destinations, he’s likely not going to make the kind of immediate impact Sean McVay’s team needs him to just to make a push to qualify for the postseason,” Lombardo wrote. “Los Angeles, at 3-6, is at a bit of a crossroads. Especially after Kupp’s injury in Week 10 against the Arizona Cardinals.”
So is free agency the motive for general manager Les Snead, Sean McVay and company? Lombardo, through multiple conversations with league sources, says the Rams have two options they’re “content” with using to fill for Kupp — who are non-free agents.
“It doesn’t sound, from conversations Heavy had with multiple agents who represent the top wide receivers currently available in free agency, as if the Rams are placing calls at the top of the market,” Lombardo said. “The belief among league sources is the Rams are content to elevate either Austin Trammell or Jacob Harris from the practice squad.”
Both are Group of 5 Options Who Could Offset Kupp’s Absence
So it’s not looking like OBJ, or even free agents T.Y. Hilton or Mohamed Sanu to replace Kupp.
But the Rams have two wideouts who have already worked alongside Kupp and understand McVay and Coen’s play-calling. One of them is capable of filling an important need for the offense.
“Trammell, 24, was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Atlanta Falcons in 2021 prior to being released on June 16, 2022 and signing with the Rams. Meanwhile, Harris was chosen by the Rams in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft, and the fact that he is a converted tight end could make him an able-bodied red zone target for an offense in need of production in that area of the field,” Lombardo said.
Trammell and Harris are obviously different in size with the former 5-foot-10 and the latter 6-foot-5. But one thing they have in common is they played Group of 5 football in college.
Trammell, who starred at Rice University, was called a WR who “does a nice job locating and tracking deep passes and is a legitimate vertical threat” by NFL Draft Buzz. He was also called a wideout who is “willing to go up and attack the ball” while having “a knack for getting open and is a quarterback’s best friend — passers just need to toss the ball in his area and he’ll come down with it.”
Harris, meanwhile, went from former college soccer player at Florida Gulf Coast University to towering red zone target at the University of Central Florida. He was called an “under-the-radar wideout with elite size and dangerous speed. Harris has inside/outside experience and offers the potential to threaten coverage as a matchup talent” by nfl.com draft expert Lance Zierlein.
Harris, however, has only seen one play on offense and has largely been used on special teams with 45 snaps there in three games per Pro Football Reference. The 2021 fourth rounder is yet to catch his first NFL pass in a regular season game.
The Rams will likely decide who fills the 53-man roster by Sunday. In the meantime, they did sign to the active roster tackle Zachary Thomas, who comes from the Chicago Bears’ practice squad.