Insider Shares the ‘Dark Horse’ Among Rams WR Competition

Cooper Kupp

Getty Cooper Kupp with lance McCutcheon during a June 8, 2022 minicamp practice.

Things are going to get competitive, plus perhaps heated, when the Los Angeles Rams return from summer vacations for July 2022 training camp.

Guys are going to be vying for spots on the roster. Others will want to crack the starting lineup. Some want to redeem themselves following what they may believed was a down year for them. Lastly, the Rams as a whole has higher expectations this time around — as the holders of the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

But every season, there’s that proverbial “dark horse” candidate to make his attempt at surprising everyone around the facility and earn his name among the final 53-man roster. And judging by what she has seen during June minicamp, The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue has mentioned the Rams’ potential 2022 “dark horse” in her Tuesday, June 21 roster projections: Football Championship Subdivision star Lance McCutcheon.

Why the Montana State Star Could Surprise

Rodrigue called the towering 6-foot-3, 202-pounder from Bozeman, Montana as not only the “dark horse” of the receiver room, but a potential contributor if needed.

“Undrafted free agent Lance McCutcheon is a dark horse in the receiver competition and, if the group deals with injury, could emerge as a contributor down the stretch,” Rodrigue wrote.

McCutcheon arrives to the “Rams House” as an undrafted free agent from the Big Sky Conference. He’s obviously facing his odds on making the final roster considering how deep this position group is — with Allen Robinson on board, Van Jefferson aiming to build off his improved second season, three rookies from last season in Jacob Harris, Ben Skowronek and Tutu Atwell all back and of course, the Super Bowl 56 Most Valuable Player Cooper Kupp returning.

Then there’s the pending status of Odell Beckham Jr. Rodrigue shared her confidence level in the injured OBJ returning.

“I am among those who are optimistic that the Rams work out a deal with Odell Beckham Jr.,” Rodrigue said. “But he wouldn’t count on their 53-man until midseason if they do re-sign him.”

But along with OBJ’s road to recovery, there are others in this position group attempting to return from their own ailments. Harris and Atwell couldn’t finish the season due to season ending ACL and shoulder injuries, respectively. Injuries across the WR room can give McCutcheon leverage into moving up in the roster.

McCutcheon Brings This Type of Build to Rams Offense

With his physique, McCutcheon can add this layer to the Rams offense: Having an “X” option.

Sports Illustrated’s The NFL Draft Bible evaluated the Bobcats standout before the draft, referring to him as a prototypical option that lines up widest to the tight end.

“The biggest strength to McCutcheon’s game is his size. He is the build of a true X receiver, with very long arms, the Draft Bible wrote.

But he also adds a trait that can make him comparable to the newest Ram Robinson: Grabbing the contested passes.

“He is great when it comes to contested catches, winning the majority of 50/50 balls that come his way,” the website said. “Because of his size, he is able to outmuscle defenders and position himself to where they can’t make a play on the football.”

This 2018 clip against Portland State shows the prowess McCutcheon has in making those types of grabs, which shows his knack for winning the out-muscle battle:

Plus another where he fights for positioning of the ball in the end zone, again out-muscling the cornerback:

He also proved he can win those type of physical confrontations on deep balls where either the receiver or cornerback will get their hands on it.

He’s trusted on lobs as well — proven by this clip from the FCS National Championship game of this past season:

Should McCutcheon win a spot on the Rams, he won’t be the first Big Sky representative to make it inside the “Rams House.” J.J. Koski of Cal Poly found his way into the active roster last season and has added a return man element when called upon. Of course, the most renowned Big Sky/FCS wideout in the league wears No. 10 on the champs after starring at Eastern Washington University.

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