Rams 2022 WR Unit Stunningly Ranked Below Division Rival: Analyst

Van Jefferson

Getty Van Jefferson (middle) celebrates a touchdown versus the Lions on October 24, 2021.

As deep and loaded the Los Angeles Rams have been at wide receiver, especially heading into the 2022 season, not everyone believes they’re a top five unit.

Even with new $110 million wideout Cooper Kupp as the league’s triple crown leader, or with the emergence of Van Jefferson and the addition of Allen Robinson.

One national analytics site has the Rams in the top 10 for receiving corps. But the Super Bowl 56 champions sit behind one rival that’s been trying to ease some offseason tensions with their top perimeter target.

Where PFF Ranks the Rams WR Group

Pro Football Focus released their top receiving corps rankings on Thursday, June 9 and slotted the Rams at No. 7 overall.

Why the seventh ranking? PFF analyst Ben Linsey wrote this explanation:

“A potential Odell Beckham Jr. return would bump the Rams into Tier 1, but they stick at the top of Tier 2 for now. How high they rise or how far they fall largely hinges on whether Allen Robinson’s 2021 season was a one-year hiatus from the wide receiver he’s been for much of his career or a sign of things to come. Robinson’s 67.0 PFF receiving grade in 2021 — following two seasons above 80.0 with the Bears — was the lowest of his career. Cooper Kupp still headlines the unit after ranking first among all wide receivers in PFF’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric last season.”

Linsey and PFF are basing this ranking off the status of Beckham. His addition clearly will make the Rams even more expandable and explosive — especially considering the dynamic plays he delivered once he cleared waivers and before his devastating ACL tear during the Super Bowl.

But which rival WR unit rates higher than the champs?

NFC Runner-Up Has Higher Rated Unit

The San Francisco 49ers rank higher at No. 6 overall by PFF.

But Linsey explained how this status comes “under the assumption” things can work out between the ‘Niners and their All-Pro wideout from last season:

“This No. 6 ranking is under the assumption that the offseason rumors surrounding Deebo Samuel end up being water under the bridge. Before Samuel took on his “wide back” role toward the tail end of the 2021 season, he was one of the most efficient wide receivers in the league. His 86.9 PFF receiving grade through Week 10 ranked third, behind only Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp.”

There is this sign in 49ers land: Samuel showed up to mandatory minicamp on June 7.

Linsey then added how two wideouts — one a resigned veteran and the other a rookie — help make this version of the 49ers’ receiving core complete.:

“George Kittle remains one of the league’s few truly elite tight ends, and Brandon Aiyuk emerged from Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse down the stretch to generate a 119.4 passer rating on his 83 targets. And with potential contributions from less established players like Jauan Jennings and rookie Danny Gray out of SMU, this becomes one of the more well-rounded groups in the league on paper.”

Obviously, the 49ers are dealing with a different situation with their “wide back” compared to the free agent Beckham, who remains without a team. Samuel’s situation involves an extension, which he’s eligible for. Kupp’s newest deal also has potential to impact what the Rams’ rival works out for Samuel, as noted by The Athletic’s David Lombardi.

But considering how the Rams are more passer-eccentric compared to the run-heavy 49ers and the addition of the prized big target Robinson, this is still considered a stunning ranking for members of the “Rams House.” And to add, the Rams are welcoming back three more healthier pieces who can add more layers to Sean McVay‘s offense: Speedy Tutu Atwell, fast and towering Jacob Harris and veteran tight end Tyler Higbee.

Other WR units ranked ahead of the Rams were: The Las Vegas Raiders at No. 5, the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 4, the Miami Dolphins at No. 3, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 2 and the Cincinnati Bengals coming in at No. 1.

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