For the Los Angeles Rams, the 2021 NFL season was an absolute dreamland. A trade for Matthew Stafford propelled Sean McVay’s team to a second Super Bowl trophy in franchise history, and on their home turf no less.
Players like Cooper Kupp really cemented their place amongst the league’s best, and the Rams will be hoping more players can follow suit this season. Only seven teams in NFL history have gone back-to-back, and none since the Patriots in Super Bowls 38 and 39, nearly two decades ago. That’s what the Rams are chasing, and here are three players poised to break out and help the Rams in their pursuit of back-to-back Lombardi Trophies.
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Rams Breakout Players for 2022 NFL Season
1. Cam Akers
After an injury-shortened rookie season that saw Akers only tally 625 yards and two scores from 145 carries, things looked to improve for Akers in 2021, but an Achilles tear a week before the start of training camp limited him to just one regular-season outing in which he carried the ball five times for three yards. He did, however, play all four playoff games, and got 67 carries out of it.
The breakout that Akers seemed poised for in 2021 has been moved to this season, where, if healthy, Akers is likely to be the Rams’ No. 1 back. Sure, he’ll load manage with Darrell Henderson still with the team, but Akers will undoubtedly be the lead back. If he stays on the field, he’s likely to put up good numbers, with Akers averaging a little over four yards a carry across his career thus far.
You might be wondering to yourself why a receiver who has notched 1,000 yards in two of the last three seasons is on this list, but if you look at the end of Robinson’s time in Chicago, you’ll understand. There were reports of a disconnect between Bears head coach Matt Nagy and Robinson, and that’s reflected in his target share. In the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Robinson was targeted a total of 305 times, split more or less evenly across the two campaigns. After those reports came out following the 2020 season, Robinson’s 2021 numbers pale in comparison.
In 2021, Bears quarterbacks threw the ball in Allen Robinson’s direction only 64 times. Barely more than a third of the targets he got in each of the prior two seasons. With the departure of Robert Woods to Tennessee, and the likelihood of Odell Beckham Jr. re-signing with the Rams looking minuscule at best, Robinson is primed to once again regain a vast fortune of targets in Sean McVay’s pass-happy offense.
3. Logan Bruss
With the retirement of left tackle Andrew Whitworth and the departure of right guard Austin Corbett to Carolina in free agency, the Rams were left with holes on an offensive line that had the highest pass block win rate of any offensive line unit in the league. With their first pick in the draft, they took Logan Bruss, a guard out of Wisconsin who figures to be in the mix to start from Day 1.
Bruss will be in competition for Corbett’s spot with Bobby Evans, who was drafted in 2019 and has started eight games in his career so far. As a three-year starter at a program known for churning out serious talent in the trenches, Bruss comes to LA with a pedigree few rookies possess. He earned that pedigree by having better technical ability than just about any guard in his class, and while he’ll undoubtedly need a bit to adjust to the speed of the NFL, once he does he could very well be the perfect replacement for Corbett.