Los Angeles Rams Offseason Awards: Most Improved Player, Biggest Surprise, and more

by Blaine Grisak
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The Los Angeles Rams have wrapped up the 2021 offseason. Training camp has taken place, preseason games have been played, and the 53-man roster has been set. Now, it’s time for the regular season. The Los Angeles Rams will host the Chicago Bears Week 1 to start the season on Sunday Night Football. However, before we get there, here are our offseason awards.

Most Improved: QB Bryce Perkins

Prior to the offseason, not many would have expected Bryce Perkins to make the 53-man roster. Instead, he led the NFL in passing yards during the preseason and gave the Los Angeles Rams a reason to keep three quarterbacks. It’s not common for NFL teams to keep three quarterbacks because roster spots are so valuable.

Perkins wasn’t perfect. His arm is limited and he averaged just over five yards per attempt. With that said, Perkins brings a lot with his development and will continue to develop. He might not ever start for the Rams, but he could bring trade value in the future.

Biggest Surprise: EDGE Chris Garrett

Coming out of Division II Concordia College St. Paul, Chris Garrett was seen as a developmental prospect who would need a few years to adjust to the NFL level. While that still might be the case in terms of going up against NFL starters, Garrett showed that he belonged in the NFL.

During the preseason, Garrett has 2.5 sacks and should have had 3.5 had Drew Lock not rolled Garrett’s body on the way to the ground. Garrett showed that he could potentially be a rotational pass rusher in year one. While some liked Garrett’s physical athleticism at 6’3, 243-lbs., however, not many would have expected him to make the 53-man roster let alone be as dominant as he was in the preseason.

Most Excited For: S Jordan Fuller

Jordan Fuller was just named a team captain heading into his second year in the NFL. Given that most of the Los Angeles Rams captain are seasoned veterans, it just shows Fuller’s leadership ability. He’s going to wear the green dot on defense and he’s going to be a big part of this team. How can you not be excited for Jordan Fuller?

The Rams let John Johnson III walk in free agency. Jordan Fuller was a big reason that they were able to do so. We’ll hope that the Rams haven’t put too much on Fuller’s plate too soon, but my guess is that he’ll rise to the occasion.

Best Rookie: TE Jacob Harris

In the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams selected wide receiver Jacob Harris. Harris was transitioned to tight end and stood out immediately. The Rams tight end, athletically, measures up comparably to Kyle Pitts and Darren Waller. He’ll need to develop, but his ceiling is extremely high.

It’s uncertain what kind of role Harris will have during the regular season, but it’s hard not to be excited about what the future holds for Harris. If all works out according to plan, the Rams might have found yet another gem on day three of the draft.

Biggest Disappointment: OG Bobby Evans

Bobby Evans started the preseason as the team’s starting right guard. As the offseason went on, the Los Angeles Rams clearly didn’t think Evans could handle the role. Despite playing at guard the entire offseason, Evans was pulled and Austin Corbett was put back at his natural position at guard. In replacement Brian Allen ended up as the team’s starting center.

Evans was one of only seven guards in the NFL to play more than 150 snaps in the preseason. Playing a lot in the preseason isn’t necessarily a good thing. Among those seven guards, Evans had the third lowest pass-blocking grade according to Pro Football Focus and allowed seven hurries and eight pressures. For a former third round pick, it was disappointing.

Best Undrafted Rookie: Alaric Jackson

Alaric Jackson was the only undrafted rookie to make the roster and therefore he wins this award. Jackson might have been an undrafted free agent, but some gave him a fourth round grade in the draft. Jackson played extremely well at left tackle throughout the preseason and earned a spot on the Rams 53-man roster.

Jackson’s 84.1 pass blocking grade according to Pro Football Focus was the second-best grade in the preseason among tackles. He was also graded as the 16th best overall tackle in the preseason. The Rams might have found a gem in Jackson.

Toughest Injury: Cam Akers

This is quite obvious. It doesn’t get much more difficult than losing Cam Akers for the season. On top of that, it wasn’t just an injury, but it was an achilles tear which raises even more questions moving forward. Akers seemed to be primed for a big year. Unfortunately, Los Angeles Rams fans will have to wait to see their top running back in action again.

Akers has a long road back, but is already making progress. Akers paired with Stafford this season would have been fun and it’s disappointing to lose Akers. However, the Rams will be relying on Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel to carry the load this season.

Best Offseason Addition: Matthew Stafford

We’ll know more about what Matthew Stafford brings to the Rams offense once the regular season starts. However, as it stands, Stafford is undoubtedly the best offseason addition for the Rams. They significantly upgraded at quarterback and have put themselves in position to take that next step and win the Super Bowl.

DeSean Jackson will bring a lot to the Rams offense in terms of a vertical threat. Sony Michel will also compliment Darrell Henderson well. However, Stafford plays the most important position on the field. He’ll be an extension of McVay on offense. We’ve seen Stafford in limited action right now, but from what we have seen, the Rams offense could be special in 2021.

Toughest to Figure Out: EDGE Terrell Lewis

Terrell Lewis has load of potential. However, staying healthy seems to be his biggest problem. The Rams managed his load all offseason and he still missed time due to injury. Because of that, Lewis played during the third preseason game and tipped a pass that wound up being intercepted.

Lewis is difficult to figure out. With his knees, he’s unlikely to be a full-time player. In all likelihood, he’s going to miss time at some point this season. The Rams need to put Lewis in situations in which they can get the most out of him. That’s what makes him such a difficult player to evaluate and figure out.

 

 

 

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