Rams Called a Deserving Fit for USFL QB With ‘Lively Arm’

Sean McVay Matthew Stafford

Getty Rams head coach Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford during a minicamp practice held on June 8, 2022.

Every team in the NFL including the Los Angeles Rams now has this luxury for the rest of June 2022: They can add talent via the United States Football League.

The USFL season is nearing its closure with the playoffs now underway. But players who have had their season wrap up are now eligible to return to the NFL and sign on as a late free agent.

Could the Rams be among the teams that can capitalize on who’s out there? And are there players who may look appealing as a late roster addition inside the “Rams House?”

Per Bleacher Report NFL analyst Alex Ballentine, there is one towering quarterback with a “lively arm” who he says is deserving of an NFL chance — with the Super Bowl 56 champs tabbed as a potential fit.

QB Went From Backup to Red-Hot

Ballentine believes that Case Cookus from the Philadelphia Stars is deserving of a chance with the Rams.

Cookus wasn’t even listed as the starter for the Stars when the USFL season began. But now, “he’s making that seem like a foolish decision at this point” Ballentine says.

The former backup Cookus went on to throw for 12 touchdowns in seven starts — good enough for second in the league. He’s also took fourth in passing yards. Ballentine adds that the Stars’ offense ignited when Cookus took the starter reins.

“Bryan Scott began the year as the Stars’ starter, and he played well enough until a knee injury ended his season. Since then, Cookus has led the offense to score 35 points twice and 46 points against the Michigan Panthers. In that game, Cookus went 20-of-26 for 247 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions,” Ballentine wrote.

It’s not the first time Cookus took advantage of being a starter.

Cookus Played at Schools in Close Proximity to the Rams

Cookus starred at nearby Thousand Oaks High School, but wasn’t the most sought-after quarterback recruit and went the junior college route.

He landed at Ventura College after TOHS and played in a crowded QB room. However, he had enough film and a strong backing to be given a chance at Northern Arizona. And from there, Cookus saw his career ascend.

Cookus won the 2015 Jerry Rice Award as the nation’s top freshman at the Football Championship Subdivision level. He then became a third-team All-American and All-Big Sky first teamer — playing in arguably the deepest conference in the FCS realm. His draft stock, though, took a hit with two season ending injuries in 2018 and 2019.

Before entering the NFL Draft out of Northern Arizona, Lance Zierlein of nfl.com called him a small school pocket passer with “a lively arm.” But he had an injury history that was impossible to ignore. Yet, as the draft expert pointed out “when he’s played, he’s been impressive. He works with pocket twitch and has the ability to get the ball out quickly on RPOs or when pressured.”

Now, Ballentine believes the size/athleticism traits can appeal to NFL teams including the Rams.

“The former Northern Arizona product brings NFL size to the table at 6’4″ and 205 pounds. He also showed off his athleticism with a 79-yard touchdown run against the [Michigan] Panthers,” Ballentine wrote. “Cookus’ ability to escape pressure and deliver accurate balls down field should be enough to intrigue an NFL team. He could be a camp arm at the very least, but he has the potential to develop into an NFL backup.”

If he’s appealing for the Rams, he has the chance to give Sean McVay a fourth quarterback option in a room with Matthew Stafford, John Wolford and last season’s preseason star Bryce Perkins.

The other fits for Cookus? The Detroit Lions with Ex-Ram Jared Goff and the Denver Broncos.

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