Following the Rookies: NFC West Los Angeles Rams
In this article I will highlight two rookies from the LA Rams. Cam Akers out of Florida State and Terrell Lewis out of Alabama. Both of these players have dealt with early season injuries, Cam Akers had a rib injury that held him out of two games in weeks 3 and 4 while Terrell Lewis started the season on Injured Reserve due to a simple knee atrophy done as a safety precaution because the Rams feared that he may have had an infection from a previous knee surgery.
Akers has started 2 games and played in 5 total so far this year, where he has produced 113 yards on 26 rushes for an average of 4.3 yards per carry. In the pass game he has been relatively non-existent with only 1 catch on 1 target for 4 yards. His lack of production can be partially blamed on his rib injury but from the beginning of the season the Rams have been set on using a running back by committee approach to their run game with a three headed backfield of Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown, and Cam Akers when healthy.
Coming out of FSU Akers was able to produce behind one of the worst offensive lines in the FBS. So many analysts expected Akers to come into the NFL and become the main back to take over for the Rams after Todd Gurley's departure. This is still a possibility as Akers gets back to full health but it is much more likely that this backfield remains a running back by committee where every game it will be unpredictable as to who is going to get the most touches.
Terrell Lewis started the season on IR causing him to miss the first 4 weeks of the season. In the 3 games since being back he has only seen 43 snaps, playing an average of 9% of defensive snaps over the past three weeks. He was able to get into the stat column on Monday night against the Bears where he was able to record his first tackle of the season. His usage should only go up as the season continues as long as he is able to stay healthy which is a big task for him considering he missed two full seasons back to back while at Alabama with elbow and knee injuries.
Lewis was a very interesting prospect coming out of Alabama as he had all of the physical tools to be an elite edge defender. At 6-5, 262lbs with a long frame and very good athleticism he can easily become the starter on the EDGE for the Rams. He is a raw prospect who needs to improve upon his technique as both a pass rusher and a run defender but even with his one tackle against the Bears you can see his strength to throw the blocker off of him as well as his athleticism to get to the ball carrier and bring him down on a big 4th down play at the end of the 3rd quarter. If he can progress to become an every down player for the Rams he could become a key part of this defense to compliment Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd in the front 7 of that defense. One last note on Lewis is that based on the reaction of his teammates when he made that stop, everyone loves and is rooting for this kid to become an impact player.