But it’s also the setting where new stars can be born. And the Rams helped birth a potential future fan favorite in their preseason football game on Saturday, August 13.
UDFA Steals Show & Officially Makes Roster Push
Clad in the same uniforms that won them the Super Bowl six months ago, the Rams turned to a Big Sky Conference star to help lift them to the 29-22 win over the neighboring Chargers.
But this was not Cooper Kupp, the pride of Eastern Washington who scored the game-winning touchdown to place the Vince Lombardi trophy inside the “Rams House.” Saturday instead belonged to Lance McCutcheon out of Montana State, who delivered his Kupp-like performance but did it as a big-bodied wide receiver who bullied and tormented the Charger cornerbacks in their designated home game.
The 6-foot-3, 202-pound wide receiver was labeled having “the build of a true X receiver, with very long arms.” Plus was “great when it comes to contested catches, winning the majority of 50/50 balls that come his way. Because of his size, he is able to outmuscle defenders and position himself to where they can’t make a play on the football” by Sports Illustrated’s The Draft Bible.
That truth was revealed on this 60-yard strike from Bryce Perkins for the Rams’ first touchdown — where McCutcheon out-muscled two powdered blue defenders.
He later delivered a two-point conversion when drawing solo coverage in the back of the end zone and out-jumped his defender for the football. But then, near the same part of the end zone where Kupp’s final catch sealed the Super Bowl title, the newest representative from the Big Sky delivered this dagger that sealed the preseason win:
Before the preseason, let alone training camp at Crawford Field on the UC Irvine campus, The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue called McCutcheon a dark horse candidate to make the roster. Even before Rodrigue’s roster projections, SI’s Draft Bible wrote down this telling “one liner” in their draft evaluation: “X receiver, who lacks the speed and hands to make an NFL roster.”
Well, McCutcheon caught five passes for 87 yards and delivered three trips to the end zone. No other Rams WR surpassed 28 yards receiving.
Now, there are those wondering if this “true X receiver” who played his college ball at a city with under 50,000 in population is making a case to shake up the Super Bowl champ’s final depth chart.
Fans & Media State Their Case for McCutcheon
Rodrigue sent a reminder to NFL Twitter and Rams fans:
The Rams Brothers podcast shared their humor in describing McCutcheon versus the Charger CB unit.
But one national media representative began to take notice of the undrafted rookie who became uncoverable in his league debut.
“Keep an eye out for the rookie,” Kayla Burton of the NFL Network helped tweet out.
Meanwhile, McCutcheon felt some social media love back in his college home as sports anchor/reporter for the Bozeman CBS affiliate KBZK Ashley Washburn stated her belief that the Bobcats star is worthy of a roster spot.
Turf Show Times then shared what McCutcheon just accomplished in the WR room:
Finally, sports writer and author Joe Torosian proposed this online question:
The Case for McCutcheon
As a UDFA, it’s still an uphill climb to make the final 53-man roster.
Last season, the Rams kept six in their deep wideout unit: Kupp, Robert Woods, DeSean Jackson, Van Jefferson, Tutu Atwell and Ben Skowronek for the original 53-man crew. Brandon Powell and J.J. Koski were eventually elevated when injuries occurred. Odell Beckham also eventually came along.
The fourth rounder from a year ago Jacob Harris, though, can potentially help complicate things as he’s transitioning to full-time wide receiver. “Benny Skow” has been praised for his blocking and making the contested catch in critical short yardage downs.
In McCutcheon’s case, he’ll need more than a 87-yard and three score night to cement his spot. He’ll need to repeat or better this performance for the next two games and also see his chances increase if there’s injuries to the unit.
Nevertheless, the “X” receiver who came to the league undrafted just moved one foot forward in his pursuit to join the champ’s roster. And has already won over head coach Sean McVay.