Los Angeles Rams 2023 Training Camp Preview
A lot went wrong on the injury side of things for the Los Angeles Rams in 2022, leading to a 5-12 record a year after earning the Lombardi Trophy. Now, they hope for a bounce-back 2023 campaign with Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald, and Cooper Kupp spearheading its attack. Let’s take a dive into their 2023 training camp preview!
Three Position Battles to Watch:
Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson inarguably have the top two receiving spots in a stranglehold, barring injury. But after that? It’s up for grabs, particularly between Skowronek and Atwell, who were relied upon more than expected last season because of injuries to Jefferson and, eventually, Kupp. Skowronek had 39 catches for 376 yards, while Atwell finished with 18 catches for 298 yards. I wouldn’t be surprised if Puka Nacua, who was drafted No. 177 overall, lobbied for snaps after combining for 1,430 yards and 11 scores in 23 games at BYU. But I wouldn’t put any sort of expectation on him, yet, especially in a complicated Sean McVay system.
Michel is entering his age-28 season, finishing with 36 carries for 106 yards — a measly 2.9 yards per attempt — without a rushing score last season with the Chargers after totaling 845 yards and four scores with the Rams in 2021. He returns and will be competing behind Cam Akers, who will be their starting tailback in 2023. Williams, a 2022 fifth-round pick, never got consistent touches but had 215 yards from scrimmage on 44 touches. Could he have more of a role this upcoming season? Time will tell.
The Rams’ offensive line was a tire fire last season, and it’ll need to be better if it stands any chance at making the postseason with Matthew Stafford, who was limited to only nine games last season, behind center. Bruss, its third-round pick in 2022, missed all of his rookie season due to injury and will be competing with Shelton for the right guard job. Bruss could compete with 2023 second-round pick Steve Avila for the left guard spot, but I think the right guard position is more open. Shelton will be entering his second full season as a starter; last year, he started 13 games last year at center and guard, finishing with a 58.0 PFF Grade, including a 71.3 pass-blocking grade.
Ready To Breakout: Cobie Durant
Durant is expected to lobby for the top cornerback job after the Rams traded Jalen Ramsey to the Dolphins earlier this offseason. In 14 games last year, Durant tallied 22 tackles with one tackle for loss, but hauled in three interceptions–including one pick-six on Christmas Day against the Broncos.
He’s got very good athleticism and supreme ball skills at 5-foot-11. He only played in one-third of the Rams’ defensive snaps as a rookie last year, so I’m expecting the second-year corner to have a breakout 2023 campaign with increased opportunity.
Rookie To Watch: Byron Young
I almost went with Avila, who could be the team’s starting left guard, but I’m going to go with Young, a third-round selection out of Tennesee. In two seasons with the Vols, he recorded 72 pressures, 12.5 sacks, 23.5 tackles-for-loss, and combined for 83 tackles–42 solo. The Rams will have competition for both EDGE spots without Leonard Floyd and Young may very well win one of them–and will likely be in the pass-rushing rotation regardless, barring injury. The Rams, even with Aaron Donald, were a below-average team last year rushing the passer, so any semblance of production elsewhere helps!
Fantasy Sleeper: Van Jefferson
Jefferson was expected to be a breakout candidate last year, but a knee injury forced him to miss the team’s first six games and he couldn’t find his footing thereafter. He finished with 24 receptions for 369 yards and three receiving touchdowns; in 2021, he had 50 catches for 802 yards and six touchdowns. Kupp is one of the best receivers in football, but if injuries don’t attack the Rams’ offense to the degree they did last year, Jefferson could be in-store for a near-1,000-yard season with at least a half-dozen touchdowns.
What do you think about the Los Angeles Rams heading into training camp? Let us know in the comments below!