The Los Angeles Rams made a low-key signing by adding wide receiver DeSean Jackson earlier this week. The signing of Jackson adds a deep threat and speed that was severely lacking on the Rams offense last season. Prior to the signing of Jackson, it was thought that the Rams might draft someone with the 57th or even the 88th overall pick. D’Wayne Eskridge, Amari Rodgers, and others were popular names among fans.
However, with the signing of Jackson, does that overrule the need to draft a speedy wide receiver at the position?
Before we dive in, I believe that it’s important to look at McVay’s history with rookies. Unless he absolutely has to, McVay typically doesn’t like to play rookies on offense or give them a big role.
Van Jefferson never played 60% of snaps on offense and that came in Week 17 against the Cardinals. And that was only because Cooper Kupp was out with injury. In fact, throughout the season, Jefferson averaged only 22% of offensive snaps per game.
Brycen Hopkins played two offensive snaps all season despite being selected in the fourth round. Those snaps all came when Tyler Higbee was hurt.
Cam Akers saw more than 30% of snaps on offense just once before Week 12. After that point, he was regularly above the 60% threshold.
This wasn’t just a trend in 2020.
Darrell Henderson didn’t see a lot of time as a rookie despite being drafted in the third round. Bobby Evans and David Edwards only saw time on the offensive line because of injuries. Edwards is now a regular starter. Had the Rams not been in complete rebuild mode in McVay’s first season in 2017, Kupp and Everett may not have seen the field right away.
This is one reason why the Jackson move made sense from McVay’s perspective. Instead of depending on a rookie, the Rams will be depending on a 34-year old veteran who already knows the system.
The addition of Jackson seems to rule out drafting a wide receiver at 57th overall. However, given the Rams’ history of playing rookies, they could still draft someone like Eskridge at that spot with the idea that he takes over for Jackson next season. After all, Jackson is just one a one-year deal.
While that is a possibility, it still seems unlikely. If the Los Angeles Rams draft a wide receiver it will most likely be late on day two with pick 101 if the right guy is there. Even more likely is that they draft someone at pick 141 or 209. In this area, the Rams would be looking at players like Whop Taylor, Dazz Newsome, Anthony Schwartz, and Dez Fitzpatrick.
The Rams have Jackson, but still need a punt returner. While that is an area that Jackson has experience in and they do have Nsimba Webster, Jackson has not returned punts recently and Webster isn’t a positive big play waiting to happen.
It’s also worth noting that with it being such a deep wide receiver class, players that would typically go in the third or fourth round, might be a sixth or seventh round pick this year. Players might fall because teams might think they can still get a quality wide receiver later on.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Rams still take a wide receiver. However, taking one with their first draft selection might just be a little less likely after signing DeSean Jackson.