Rams Rookie Seventh Rounder Called ‘Mature’ by Sean McVay

Jake Funk

Getty Jake Funk runs the football in a 2020 game against Penn State. Funk was drafted in the seventh round by the Los Angeles Rams and has won over his head coach Sean McVay, who has called him "Mature."

The Los Angeles Rams running back room only has five bodies, with 2021 seventh round selection Jake Funk representing the lone rookie in the depth chart.

Seventh round picks traditionally have a tougher road in making the final roster. Most are cut during training camp or demoted to the practice squad. In looking back at the best seventh rounders of all-time by the Pro Football Network, only Bo Jackson is labeled the best seventh round running back ever, though he first entered the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1986 draft, but opted to suit up in the MLB for the Kansas City Royals before re-entering the draft.

However, the former Maryland Terrapin Funk is winning over his new head coach Sean McVay. The fifth-year head coach told reporters on June 10 that he likes Funk’s maturity.

“He’s a mature rookie. I think he’s really taken to (RBs coach) Thomas Brown. What a great job Thomas does as a coach really helping these guys grow. And because you get a little bit of extra time with rookies with some of the meetings and some of the things we added over the months these guys have been with us, you’ve really seen his growth, his comfort level (rising).”

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On film, Funk shows the blend of burst and power on his runs. He’s unafraid to throw his 205-pound body into a defender if it means finding the end zone. He has a muscular build and knows how to bend when squared on an oncoming tackler. His burst after the handoff was among the elements that solidified his status as an intriguing late round pick. But Funk additionally has a background as a receiver out of the backfield and special teams return man.

Jake Funk | Maryland 2020 HighlightsDamascus' Jake Funk made the most of his opportunities in 2020. Despite only playing four games in the COVID-shortened season, Funk put together quite the highlight tape. This video only includes some of his bigger plays, but Funk was a consistent runner even when he wasn't breaking long runs, as is evident by his 8.6…2020-12-24T07:01:42Z

Funk’s Surname Already Popular With the Rams

With a last name like Funk, people having fun with it is bound to happen.

One of them is the L.A. Rams Twitter account while capturing video of a May 17 workout.

And, Sarina Morales proclaimed the 233rd overall selection has “arguably the best name in the NFL” during her one-on-one interview with him on June 2.

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Funk Overcoming More Than Seventh Round Label

Again, Funk fell all the way to the 233rd spot before the Rams decided to give him a home. Once July’s training camp arrives, he’ll have to find his way onto the final roster while trying to share the load with a healthier Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers.

But he’s heading into the league having overcoming a list of obstacles.

Among them, two ACL tears that required surgery during his Terrapin days, the recent one occurring in September 2019 that wiped away his season. Then in 2020, Funk was among many NCAA football players who had to navigate through the truncated coronavirus season.

He’s no stranger to playing in talented and crowded backfields. At Maryland, he teamed with future NFL RB’s Trey Edmunds (Pittsburgh Steelers), Ty Johnson (Detroit Lions) and Anthony McFarland (Steelers). Funk squeaked out four career starts.

And on his life-altering day on May 2, Funk revealed the rest of his setbacks.

The Rams still saw potential in Funk on the day they drafted him, with Rams Northeast/North area scout Chance Trickett raving about Funk’s physical side in a May 2 video. Trickett said:

“It’s a shame that this guy only played four games this year and he’s been hurt; he’s been hurt last year and hurt the year before that. But he gets out there and plays his four games and you’re kind of like ‘Who the hell is that?’ Just a big physical kid, big bodied frame and big muscular player. So he’s going to run through you.”

Rams Manager of data and analytics Jake Temme Called Funk “one of my favorite guys throughout the process” while compiling Funk’s data from a GPS standpoint.

Now, Funk has won over McVay with his growth on the field during the June minicamp period.

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