Rams TE Group Looks Deeper & More Versatile for 2021

Tyler Higbee

Getty Tyler Higbee of the Los Angeles Rams runs past two San Francisco 49er defenders during a 2020 regular season game. Higbee is leading a changed tight end unit this fall.

In 2020, the two top Los Angeles Rams tight ends combined for 85 receptions, which only comprised of 21.68% of the team catches.

However Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett, as TE1 and TE2, collaborated to score six touchdowns – matching the team-high touchdown receptions Robert Woods had.

Sure, the Rams offense is built around motions, play-action, speed and creating mismatches with the latter, but more so for the wide receivers. It doesn’t mean that the tight ends will get ignored, however.

Everett may be gone, but there’s enthusiasm coming from this group. Second-year TE Brycen Hopkins is one who has gotten an early glimpse of what the 2021 group looks like, telling Rams team reporter Sarina Morales on July 2 that the tight ends add to the explosion and versatility this offense brings.

“A lot of our offense is based around everybody knowing every position. A lot of people can play a lot of different spots and that’s exciting just to know that we have players that can do that,” Hopkins said.

This unit already has a 40-catch receiver in Higbee, but added intrigue in drafting 6-foot-5, 211-pound weapon Jacob Harris who runs a 40-yard dash below the 4.4 mark. The franchise also drafted Trent Green’s nephew Ben Skowronek, who adds a potential blue-collar goal line element as a hybrid WR/TE.

Here’s a deeper dive into this year’s Rams tight ends.

Leading TE Labeled a Breakout Candidate

The 6-foot-6, 255-pound Higbee is entering this fall as one with breakout potential, at least in the fantasy football realm. The Athletic’s Jake Ciely on June 7 called him a top five breakout TE, with Ciely writing:

“So why will 2021 be different? Well, Everett is gone! Yes, the Rams are already talking up converted wideout Jacob Harris, but he’s a rookie…and again, learning a new position. Plus, Higbee now has Matthew Stafford at quarterback, who performs better than (Jared) Goff in most areas, but particularly some important ones the past two years.”

But outside of fantasy football hype, here’s an example of Higbee showing his sneaky side: He’s the inside TE on this 12 personnel look and still slips by the Philadelphia Eagles for this 28-yard TD, which was one of three scores he had on that September 20 day:

Pro Football Focus listed Higbee as the 18th best TE for 2021 on May 19. But now the question becomes: Who becomes Higbee’s TE wingman especially in the 12 personnel schemes?

UCF Rookie the Most Intriguing TE

Higbee is the most experienced member with six years in the league. But there’s plenty of buzz for the fourth rounder from Central Florida, which points to him potentially emerging as TE2.

Two Bleacher Reporter writers Brad Gagnon and B/R NFL Scout Nate Tice wrote enthusiastically about the versatile and explosive UCF standout, with Gagnon on June 18 calling him the Rams’ most intriguing project player for 2021 and Tice comparing his game to five-time Pro Bowler Jimmy Graham, but writing that Harris is “even rawer” as a full-time WR in his May 1 report. Central Florida found ways to place him on islands with smaller cornerbacks as seen in this highlight video.

UCF WR/TE Jacob Harris 2020 Highlights ⚡️⚡️⚡️ ᴴᴰSubscribe, Like this Video & Turn On Notifications! (↓↓ click show more ↓↓) Instagram: instagram.com/justbombsproductions/ Twitter: twitter.com/JBP_Official Patreon: patreon.com/justbombsproductions Facebook: facebook.com/Just-Bombs-Productions-255863801590167/ UCF WR/TE Jacob Harris Senior 6’5 219 lbs UCF WR/TE Jacob Harris might be the most freakish athlete in the draft. He’s big like a Tight End & runs like a receiver. In fact,…2021-04-27T17:00:26Z

Who Else Can Add to TE Versatility & Athleticism?

Ben Skowronek has near-similar size to Harris as a 6-foot-5 option. The seventh-rounder doesn’t have the UCF star’s athleticism, but the former Northwestern and Norte Dame wide receiver brings a rugged blocking element, which could convince the Rams to plug him at TE especially in goal line packages.

Inside the Draft: Ben Skowronek Brings A 'Savviness' That Pairs Well With Rams | Ep.9Get a behind-the-scenes look into virtual draft meetings as scouts evaluate Notre Dame WR Ben Skowronek. Subscribe to the LA Rams Channel: bit.ly/3d9IrHe For More Exclusive Content follow the Rams: Twitter: twitter.com/ramsnfl Instagram: instagram.com/rams/ Facebook: facebook.com/Rams/ Website: therams.com Get the latest on the LA Rams news, photos, and more by downloading the app! Android: bit.ly/3fOjmU7…2021-05-26T00:20:47Z

Outside of Higbee, Johnny Mundt is the next most seasoned Ram with four years in L.A. Kendall Blanton is in his third season with the team after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2019. Hopkins will look to see an increase in snaps for 2021, telling Morales “I just want to take advantage of my opportunities as much as I can this season. Every single rep going into training camp I have something to prove,” and saying he feels “a little more grounded” than last year.

Overall, the TE’s look like the one position group on offense that could surprise a lot of folks. The unit already has experience (Higbee), a refocused second-year player (Hopkins) and added two more targets who bring explosive/rugged versatility (Harris and Skowronek) to the room.

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