Eric Dickerson Jersey

Listen to NFL Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson join The Herd w/ Colin Cowherd discussing Cleveland Browns superstar wideout Odell Beckham Jr and how Beckham’s notorious catch versus the Dallas Cowboys in 2014 led to his career taking off.

Dickerson said the catch was ‘cool’ but brought up the fact NFL receivers are now equipped with state of the art ‘sticky gloves’, that greatly assist wide receivers catching the ball in the modern NFL.

Dickerson, who famously rushed for 2,105 yards in 1984 and totaled 13,259 rushing yards for his career, says Beckham’s elite pass-catching ability would be a lot more impressive if he was able to make those highlight reel catches WITHOUT sticky gloves, and mentioned how players in his era literally wore the same gloves that SCUBA divers wear in the water.

Greg Gaines Jersey

The Rams waited until the fourth round to add a run stuffer for the middle of their line in defensive tackle Greg Gaines out of the University of Washington.

General manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay specifically mentioned using Gaines at the nose tackle spot in base packages, putting emphasis on the former Huskie’s ability to stay disciplined and stop the run.

Here are three things to know about Gaines:

1. CALI NATIVE

Gaines joins fellow draftee, cornerback David Long, as a Southern California native returning home for his first professional season as Ram. The young D-lineman was born in La Habra, Calif., and played four years at La Habra High School — just an hour from the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

2. FIRST NFL GAME… EVER

In his conference call with Los Angeles media after he was drafted No. 134 overall, Gaines disclosed that his first game with the Rams will have special significance.

“I’ve never personally been to an NFL game, so my first NFL game — I’ll be playing in it hopefully,” Gaines said. “I grew up in L.A. and there were no teams anywhere nearby, so we just never got to go to an NFL game.”

3. THE PAC-12’s BEST

Gaines was voted as the top defensive lineman in the Pac-12 by his conference opponents in his final season at Washington, earning the Morris Trophy. In 14 games as a redshirt senior, Gaines posted 55 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception — a statline good enough for First Team All-Pac 12 honors.

Bobby Evans Jersey

Evans declared for the 2019 NFL Draft as a redshirt junior, after four years on campus in Norman, Oklahoma. With three seasons protecting valuable signal-callers across the offensive line under his belt, Evans should provide some valuable depth to the Rams offensive front and gain valuable experience playing behind left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who is set to wrap up his three-year deal with the close of the 2019 campaign.

Here are three things to know about Evans:

1. VERSATILITY

Evans did not miss a game in three seasons at OU, starting at both right and left tackle on the Sooner offense. He earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors in 26 games over two seasons at right tackle, before a switch to left tackle ahead of his final season on campus, where he earned a Second-Team All-Big 12 nod.

Evans’ experience playing across the O-line could pay off in his professional career as a member of offensive line coach/run game coordinator Aaron Kromer’s unit.

“Any time a guy can play two positions like that, starting right and going to the left, you got to love his versatility and his athleticism that he’s showing,” Kromer said following the third-round selection.

2. BIG-TIME QB EXPERIENCE

Quarterback Jared Goff is getting a young offensive lineman that has some big experience protecting high-profile quarterbacks in Evans.

The 6-foot-5, 301-pound tackle lined up in front of quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray during his time as a starter at OU. Mayfield and Murray each won the Heisman Trophy and were drafted No. 1 overall following the 2017 and 2018 seasons, respectively.

Evans attended Allen High School with Murray, where he protected the future Arizona Cardinal’s blindside as a left tackle.

3. ATHLETIC BACKGROUND

Evans’ father, Bobby Joe Evans, was the 1994-95 Texas Gatorade High School Player of the Year in basketball and lettered as a member of the OU basketball team.

The younger Evans spent two seasons as a tight end at Allen HS, before moving to the offensive line.

David Long Jersey

Addressing depth in the secondary was clearly a priority for the Rams in the 2019 NFL Draft, taking safety Taylor Rapp in the second round, followed by cornerback David Long in the third.

Long is a two-time letterman at the University of Michigan and was a Second Team All-Big Ten selection in his final season in Ann Arbor. In 29 games, Long recorded 38 tackles, two tackles for loss, 17 passes defensed, and three interceptions.

Here are three things to know about Long:

 

1. AN L.A. NATIVE

Long is headed home for his professional football career and will take the Coliseum’s field just two miles from where he played his high school ball. After his 4.0 academic and four-star athletic career at Loyola High School, Long committed and then decommitted from Stanford, before aligning with the Wolverines and his new eccentric head coach Jim Harbaugh — who climbed a tree in his recruiting visit to land Michigan’s new top corner.

2. SHUTDOWN CORNER

 

Long’s stats might not jump off the page from his three years at Michigan, but according to Pro Football Focus that might just be because his man wasn’t open. Just ahead of the draft, PFF said Long could be a steal — noting that on 595 snaps, Long allowed just 18 receptions on 60 targets for 130 yards. And of the 18 receptions, only three went for a first down, only one for a touchdown. He never allowed more than two catches in a game in Michigan’s man-coverage scheme.

 

3. TOP 3-CONE TIME, 20-YARD SHUTTLE

Long posted the best three-cone (6.45) and 20-yard shuttle (3.97) times at the NFL Combine last month, providing a glimpse at his quickness in short space.

His three-cone time topped next-best time by 0.18 seconds and was the No. 5 time since 2000. General manager Les Snead often describes these drills as important for illustrating football speed, since a player rarely runs 40 yards in a straight line during a game.

Darrell Henderson Jersey

Entering the 2019 NFL draft, the Los Angeles Rams were in a position that most teams were not. They could take the best player available at just about any positions besides quarterback and still have a loaded starting lineup for next season.

To an extent, that’s exactly what Les Snead and the front office did. After taking safety Taylor Rapp at No. 61 overall, the Rams traded up 24 spots to draft running back Darrell Henderson at No. 79 – a stunner for most fans and analysts.

It was purely a luxury pick for Los Angeles, passing on a position of greater need like nose tackle or center to take a backup running back. As of now, Henderson is probably RB3, but his exact role with the Rams remains to be seen. Will he be the third-stringer? Will he get 150 carries? Or will he be more of a gadget player in the mold of Darren Sproles and James White?

Running backs taken in the third round of recent drafts have played fairly frequently as rookies and many of them even became starters in a year or two. Of the last 15 running backs to be drafted in the third round, only three of them didn’t start a single game as a rookie: James Conner, Matt Jones and Charles Sims.

Since 2010, 21 running backs have been drafted in Round 3. More than half (11) carried the ball at least 100 times as rookies with nine rushing for more than 500 yards. The top player from that group was Kareem Hunt, who led the league in rushing as a rookie with 1,237 yards on 272 carries.

Alvin Kamara is no slouch, either, and he’s set to be the lead back in New Orleans next season with Mark Ingram gone. David Johnson is a former first-team All-Pro, Conner is the starter with Pittsburgh and DeMarco Murray toped the NFL in rushing with 1,845 yards in 2014 – his fourth season.

Take a look at the list below, which includes stats from their rookie seasons.

Looking ahead to those players’ second seasons in the NFL, six of them were full-time starters in Year 2. That doesn’t even include Jones, who started seven games for the Redskins before getting injured in 2016.

The majority remained role players and were a part of a committee approach with their respective teams, but they still contributed. Out of the 21 third-round running backs since 2010, 13 of them carried the ball at least 100 times in their second year. Duke Johnson, who had 73 rush attempts in his second NFL season, caught the ball 53 times, so he was certainly involved in the Browns’ offense.

There are countless examples of running backs being drafted in the third round and getting an abundance of work right out of the gate. There have also been tailbacks who saw very little action as rookies, including Kenyan Drake, Conner, C.J. Prosise and Alex Green.

Some of it comes down to the player while others are dependent on the situation he enters, which makes Henderson a unique case. He has a ton of talent and can score from anywhere, but he’s also joining a crowded backfield with Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown.

The likeliest scenario is Henderson carrying the ball about 50-75 times and catching another 25 or so passes. Last season, Gurley had 256 carries and 59 receptions – numbers that he’s unlikely to touch in 2019 with his workload on track to shrink. His backups, C.J. Anderson and Malcolm Brown, combined for 86 carries and nine receptions.

Neither is the receiver that Henderson is, but Brown and John Kelly should still get their share of touches, too. Anything less than 50 total touches will be a disappointingly low number for Henderson, who was drafted to be the Rams’ “change-of-pace” back. Recent history shows third-round backs can have success as rookies, it’s just a matter of whether Sean McVay will give Henderson the chance to be next in line.

Taylor Rapp Jersey

The Rams used their first draft pick to add youthful depth to the secondary in the second round. Former University of Washington safety Taylor Rapp will join the decorated Rams secondary in 2019 after 39 games as a Huskie. Rapp recorded 8.5 tackles for loss, 6.0 sacks, seven interceptions, six passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries in his college career.

Here are three things to know about Rapp:

 

1. FRESHMAN STANDOUT

If Rapp’s first season as a professional goes anything his his first seasons in the college ranks, the Rams might be more than pleased with their choice at No. 61-overall.

Rapp played in all 14 games as a true freshman and started in 10. He perhaps iced his spot on All-Freshman lists in the Pac-12 title game against Colorado, when he picked off back-to-back passes and returned one of them for a touchdown. The performance earned Rapp the game’s MVP nod.

Rapp finished his freshman season with 51 tackles, four interceptions, a touchdown, two passes defensed, and a forced fumble.

2. NEXT DAWG UP

With the addition of Rapp and defensive tackle Greg Gaines in 2019, the Rams have now drafted 40 players out of the University of Washington — only USC has sent more prospects to the franchise.

On Friday, Rapp became the first Huskie drafted by the Rams since DE Jason Chorak was taken in the seventh-round of the 1998 draft. Rapp will also join former Washington standout cornerback Marcus Peters in the Rams secondary in 2019.

3. DUAL CITIZEN

Rapp holds both Canadian and American passports, born to a Canadian father and Chinese mother in Atlanta, Georgia.
Part of just the .4 percent of Asian athletes to compete at the Division I level, the Rams’ newest safety told NFL.com’s Andy Fenelon that he hopes to be a ‘beacon’ for Chinese-American football players of the future after making his professional football dreams come true.

“It’s beyond making history to me,” Rapp told Fenelon. “To me, it’s about gaining a platform that will help inspire a generation of Chinese- and Asian-American kids. I don’t want to be just an answer to a trivia question; I want to inspire and have a real impact.”

Lamarcus Joyner Jersey

The Los Angeles Rams chose to slap a franchise tag on safety Lamarcus Joyner back in April. The two sides have been talking, but no long-term deal is expected to be reached, a league source told ESPN.

They have until Monday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline to agree to a multi-year deal. If a new contract isn’t signed, Joyner will play this season on the franchise tag. The Rams could then tag him again next offseason or he would become a free agent.

The Rams decided to franchise tag Joyner instead of receiver Sammy Watkins, who later left for the Kansas City Chiefs. The 27-year-old played slot corner his first three years in the league before moving to safety in 2017, where he notched his first three career interceptions.

Greg Zuerlein Jersey

After signing Cairo Santos, the Los Angeles Rams can afford to wait it out on Greg Zuerlein until he’s healthy enough to return.

As great as it’s been to watch the Los Angeles Rams find the end zone over the first four weeks of the 2018 season, the team has unfortunately been dealing with some issues on special teams at the kicker position.

During warmups a few weeks ago, Greg Zuerlein suffered a groin injury that has since prevented him from playing in games, leaving the Rams to settle for Sam Ficken in his absence.

However, when looking at the struggles surrounding Ficken being reliable, including an easy 28-yard chip shot in Week 4 against the Minnesota Vikings, it was easy to understand the decision by Los Angeles to move on from the former Penn State kicker.

Since Zuerlein still isn’t 100 percent ready to play, the Rams decided to sign former Kansas City Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos in the mean time to help get by, although with the way the offense is scoring touchdowns, he may not be needed as much.

Still, it’s important for a serious contender like Los Angeles to have a reliable kicker each week in case there ever is a time when the offense struggles to put up points in the end zone. And since the last thing the Rams want to do is rush Zuerlein before he’s fully ready, Santos is at least an upgrade over Ficken.

Between having a lot more experience to showing he can handle the pressure on numerous occasions, Santos knows this is the perfect opportunity to prove himself as a reliable kicker in the NFL.

The job may go right back to Zuerlein when he is healthy enough to return since the Rams also know what he’s capable of after last season’s career numbers before suffering a back injury. But for now, all that matters for Los Angeles is they can feel much better about their kicker situation with Santos since Ficken arguably never should have been in the picture to begin with.

Plus, let’s not forget that Seattle Seahawks fans tend to provide opponents with one of the most hostile environments in the NFL, so it’s good to see the Rams go with a kicker that has proven to be able to handle these kind of pressure situations.

Johnny Hekker Jersey

Todd Gurley deserves his due as he continues to have what might end up being one of the greatest statistical seasons for a running back in NFL history.

But we need to step back for a moment and focus on his teammate, Johnny Hekker.

Hekker, in case you’re not aware, makes his living as a punter for the Los Angeles Rams. Over the years, he’s become a multi-purpose weapon for the franchise since he joined the team in 2012, a gifted punter with his leg but one that can pull off a trick play with ease. This season, he’s already been used three times in trick play situations.

Let’s start with this play from Sunday’s loss to the Saints:

Yes, a lot of folks think he got the first down in what would be a big momentum shift for the Saints. But for our purposes, that’s not what we’re paying attention to.

What other team would call for a fake field goal on the road against another top team in the conference and put the ball in the hands of their punter? No one.

Go back a week ago and you’ll see Hekker completing a pass to Sam Shields on a fake punt while the Rams were in their own territory and down 10-0 to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers:

Against the Vikings earlier this year, Hekker showed off his cannon again on this early-third quarter missile that missed:

Again: Hekker (a former high school quarterback) has been this kind of player for a long time – he’s completed 10-of-17 passes in his career. But with three trick plays so far, Hekker is on pace for a career year as a punter/thrower/runner. Sean McVay isn’t afraid to use him in big situations and it’s a strategy that will keep opposing defenses and special teamers very much on their toes. All hail Johnny Hekker.

Rodger Saffold Jersey

Jeff Fisher is known for quite a few things in the NFL. While his defenses were typically quite good, his name is synonymous with a 7-9 record and some of the worst offenses in recent memory. His Titans also came up 1 yard short of potential Super Bowl win, coincidentally against the Rams.

And he’ll never escape the 2016 season when Jared Goff was labeled a bust and Todd Gurley failed to eclipse 100 yards rushing once. However, as bad as the Rams were that year, Goff’s struggles weren’t entirely Fisher’s fault.

After all, he had no offensive line to speak of, a terrible receiving corps, all coupled with uncreative play calling that didn’t yield any positive results. Does that make Fisher a quarterback killer, or someone who can’t develop passers in the NFL? He doesn’t think so.

“When people say that I ‘ruin quarterbacks’? I had a co-MVP in the National Football League as one of my quarterbacks. I had a Rookie of the Year as one of my quarterbacks. I had a really good quarterback when I took the job with the Rams who tore his ACL twice,” Fisher told Sports Illustrated. “And yes, I was deficient. I probably could’ve done a better job surrounding the quarterback with better people, better players, maybe better coaches. But it doesn’t mean to say that I’m a bad quarterback coach. I’m not a quarterback coach, I’m a head coach.”

Oftentimes in sports, your most recent stint is the most remembered one. For Fisher, it was that disastrous 2016 season that saw him get fired after a 4-9 start. But people often forget that he thrived with Steve McNair under center, had success with Vince Young and even went 12-3 with Kerry Collins at quarterback thanks to a 10-0 start.Not many players are still in L.A. from that 2016 campaign, but Rodger Saffold, the longest-tenured Ram, was. He said the Rams “all loved Coach Fish” and refused to put all the blame on Fisher for the offense’s struggles, particularly the quarterbacks’.

“I wouldn’t say he ruins quarterbacks,” Saffold said. “But you know, he’s a defensive-minded coach, so you can only go as far as you can. But you never know what type of complication you’re going to get in a season, so I wouldn’t say he’s quarterback killer. It’s more about having the right combination of people around, the right combination of coaches.”

Fisher says in the wide-ranging piece that he would “love to coach again,” adding that he misses the players. He’s not likely to get any calls in the near future with the NFL shifting toward these young hot-shot offensive coaches, but that doesn’t mean Fisher wouldn’t be interested.