Rams Player Viewed as Top 10 Rising Star for 2022

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Rams running back Cam Akers is viewed as a rising star this season.

Running back Cam Akers was supposed to breakout in 2021.

In 2020, the then-Los Angeles Rams rookie rushed for 625 yards on 4.3 yards per carry with two touchdowns while splitting carries with Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown. Akers looked even more poised to be a possible star when he rushed for 131 yards (to go along with 45 receiving yards) and a touchdown in the Rams’ Wild Card Round win over the Seahawks that year.

But right before Rams training camp began in July 2021, Akers tore his Achilles tendon in a private workout – putting his breakout on hold. Surprisingly, the injury didn’t end Akers’s season as he was able to return for the playoffs.

Now that Akers is back to full health, 2022 could be the year he becomes one of the league’s top running backs, and not just on the field, either.

Akers Viewed As a Rising Star For Consumer Product Sales

With Sony Michel departing Los Angeles for Miami, Akers appears to, at the very least, split carries with Henderson again in 2022. But if he asserts himself as the better player and starter from the start, that could result in a whole bunch of opportunities for him.

In May, ESPN fantasy football guru Matthew Berry ranked Akers as the 15th-best running back, ahead of players such as Washington’s Antonio Gibson, Chicago’s David Montgomery, and New York’s Saquon Barkley, for 2022. If Akers can capture the hearts of fantasy owners while helping the Rams win games, it’s reasonable to think that his profile will soar amongst football fans.

That’s why the NFLPA placed Akers in the top 10 for “Rising Stars of Consumer Product Sales” among veteran players, believing he can climb into the top 50 players’ sales list this upcoming season.

“Annual Rising Stars List provides partners with insights to plan marketing campaigns, social media activations, player-driven content, brand ambassadors and product lines featuring a wider variety of players,” the NFLPA wrote in a statement.

The seven factors the NFLPA uses to determine the list fall in Akers’s favor, such as on-field performance, fantasy league status, and team fanbase.

“The magic of this list is that it pulls from a variety of data including player sales, fan bases, social media engagement and even fantasy football popularity,” President of NFL Players Inc. Steve Scebelo said in the statement. “Combined with their diverse personalities and exciting on-field performances, we forecast players best positioned to move the needle for products and marketing in the upcoming season.”

Akers Also Predicted to Be a Candidate for Comeback Player of the Year

Earlier in June, Bleacher Report writer Ian Wharton predicted Akers to be one of the six top candidates to win Comeback Player of the year in 2022.

“Akers was slated to be the next great Rams rusher in Sean McVay’s system,” Wharton wrote. “He’s an explosive downhill runner who cuts sharply and finishes through contact with his own power. His ability to help as a receiver complements quarterback Matthew Stafford’s willingness to take what the defense gives.”

Akers shared a fair amount of playing time with Stafford during the Rams’ playoff run to win Super Bowl LVI. However, he very much looked like someone who tore his Achilles five months prior. He rushed for 172 yards on 2.6 yards per carry, rushing for just 21 yards on 13 carries in Super Bowl LVI. He did contribute a bit in the receiving game, though. Akers caught eight passes for 76 yards over the four games, showing potential to be a dual-threat out of the backfield.