When he became available for trade in 2018, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was near the top of the list of players the Los Angeles Rams wanted to acquire. When the Rams finally got it on Thursday, Beckham had become the player they needed.
That need was evident in two ways: The Rams wanted help for their hit catcher group, and they needed to build on their relentless obsession with winning Super Bowl LVI at their home stadium on Feb. 13.
Beckham is undoubtedly the latest big name the Rams have added to a star-studded galaxy of players on a loaded roster. In case it wasn’t clear yet, the Rams are determined to win the Lombardi Trophy this season and adding Beckham eight days after trading for pass back Von Miller drives that point home.
But this move isn’t just about collecting another former pro bowler capable of moving real and bone jerseys in the team store, though the Rams don’t mind adding more star power in a Hollywood market that yearns for it. It was about finding a catcher who could help a painfully thin group of catchers who have been hit by injuries and an early divorce from veteran DeSean Jackson.
As it stands, the only accomplished and healthy wide receivers on the list are starters. Cooper Hit and Robert Woods, as well as the third choice, Van Jefferson. In recent weeks, the Rams fired Jackson after he became uncomfortable with a diminished role and lost rookies Tutu Atwell and Jacob Harris to season-ending injuries. Earlier this week, an exemption claim to bring back released catcher Josh Reynolds came up short.
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As of Thursday morning, the only depths behind Kupp, Woods and Jefferson were Ben Skowronek and JJ Koski, a pair of first-year receivers who have a combined three receptions for 30 yards.
It just so happened that Beckham was the best option available to the neediest and most hungry Rams in the Super Bowl. Add in the fact that the Cleveland Browns will continue to pay Beckham, which means he could easily fit into the salary cap on a one-year contract, and an attractive destination like Los Angeles, where Beckham spends a lot of time. in the offseason, and the game makes sense for both sides.
While landing in Los Angeles, where Kupp and Woods are already established, would seem to go against Beckham’s desire to get back on his number one wide receiver ways, there should still be plenty of opportunities for him to rebuild his value.
This season, the Rams have three or more receivers on the field 86% of the time, more than any other team in the league. And if that weren’t enough, the Rams also run short (five pass receivers and no running backs on the field) on 19% of those plays, also the highest in the NFL.
Where does Beckham fit in? Ideally for the Rams, in a modified version of the role the Rams envisioned for Jackson. While Beckham’s overall production has dropped in recent years, he still has the ability to dig deep. His average goal depth this season was 13.79 yards, while the only Ram with an average goal depth above 9.0 yards is Jefferson (12.91), according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Given that quarterback Matthew Stafford is the first in the NFL with 10 touchdown passes when aiming for vertical routes, Beckham should have plenty of opportunities not only to go long, but to play an integral role in helping the Rams make one. equally deep run in the postseason.