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Week 3 NFL Practice Squad Power Rankings 2021: Rams have the RB needed to add speed to their ground game

With Matthew Stafford within the shotgun and Cooper Kupp already accumulating one thing like 1,000 yards on 250 targets by two video games, I can’t blame you, avid NFL fan and Observe Squad Energy Rankings reader, for being fully enamored with the Los Angeles Rams move recreation. 

Due to the shininess of the Rams’ aerial assault, you most likely would not imagine me once I let you know that Los Angeles has completed within the prime 10 in dashing makes an attempt in three of Sean McVay’s first 4 seasons. [Dwight Schrute voice] It is true. Whereas analytics have tipped the scales towards passing extra (and rightfully so), we mustn’t overlook that any Mike Shanahan disciple (like McVay) has offensive roots that reside within the run recreation. Shanahanians — I am formally trademarking that phrase — wish to name stretch runs time and again and over then play-action off them with offensive line motion that appears an identical to that of these inside and out of doors zone performs.

Extra so than the rest, the Shanahan system is legendary for maximizing the effectivity of ANY working again. The quarterback friendliness of the offense is a helpful byproduct. 

#NeverForget — the NFC champion Rams of 2018 did have prime Todd Gurley however acquired 4.9 yards per carry from Malcolm Brown and seven.0 yards per from #thiccc Corridor of Famer C.J. Anderson out of absolute nowhere. 

You understand what’s lacking from Los Angeles’ ground-game, although? The subsequent evolution of it that McVay’s direct mentor, Kyle Shanahan, has adopted to his offense — velocity. Should you belief your blocking system that a lot, you would possibly as nicely get working backs who generate splash performs when every thing’s gorgeously blocked in entrance of them. 

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Because the begin of the 2020 season, the Rams have simply 9 rushes of 20 or extra yards, which is tied for the Tenth-lowest determine in soccer. In 2018 alone, when Gurley nonetheless had misleading, game-breaking velocity, the Rams hit 14 run performs of 20-plus yards. 

Darrell Henderson is a fairly high quality, compact again. He is not a burner. The identical is true for newly acquired run-game choice Sony Michel. Plus, Henderson’s battling a rib cartilage damage. 

And McVay hinted at a sudden want for velocity within the floor recreation when he signed Javian Hawkins to the apply squad on Monday. Keep in mind the way you could not see Sonic the Hedgehog’s toes as a result of he ran so quick? His decrease half was only a spinning circle. That is how I felt evaluating Hawkins at Louisville. He is constructed low to the bottom and an absolute blur. He had six runs of 40-plus yards in 2019 and had runs of 70, 75 and 90 yards in 2020 for the Cardinal. Dude can go. 

In a time-tested working system that produces superb running-back effectivity with insane on-field velocity, Hawkins might be exactly what McVay and the Rams offense must spherical itself in an entire unit. Belief me, Sean. 

As for the Name Up Tally — The CUT — do not get me began. No Observe Squad Energy Rankings alumni name ups thus far as we enter the third weekend of the common season. What I’ve observed, and am not completely shocked by — groups are leaning on veterans on their apply squad to start the yr. And that is smart. The younger weapons will get their alternatives in time. Do not you are concerned.  

Should you hear of a PSPR member getting The Name, alert me @ChrisTrapasso on Twitter, and be at liberty to make use of the hashtag #PSPR. Thanks prematurely. Your subsequent drink’s on me. Final week, I shouted out PSPR alum Juwan Johnson for his two-touchdown masterpiece in Week 1. This week’s shout goes to Bills defensive sort out and longtime PSPR member Justin Zimmer for his sack of Jacoby Brissett within the Payments shutout win in Miami.  

As a refresher, groups can have as much as 16 gamers on the apply squad with as much as six “veterans” on it, gamers with no limitations as to their variety of accrued seasons within the NFL. 

In a way, I am working the Observe Squad Energy Rankings parallel to the NFL. Which means, as was the case final yr, I am not going to function “veterans.” Telling you Le’Veon Bell would possibly finally be a helpful call-up for the Ravens‘ run recreation was definitely not the basic intention of the PSPR.

To proceed to take care of the PSPR’s sterling integrity, I am going to solely be together with apply squaders who’re rookies, second-year gamers, or third-year gamers. That is it. 

And as you will see beneath, I could not resist rating extra gamers, given the rise in apply squad sizes this season. To remain in step with the league’s determine, I hope to write down about 16 people each Friday: 10 formally within the rankings and 6 honorable mentions. 

1. Javian Hawkins, RB, Rams

Within the preseason, he gathered 97 yards on 20 carries with a rating, and three of these 20 carries went over 10 yards. And it is not as if he is solely a low-volume, scat again with implausible velocity. Hawkins toted the rock 264 occasions at a 5.8 yards-per-carry clip in 2019 at Louisville. He performs greater than his dimension. 

I had a fourth-round grade on Inexperienced only a few months in the past. He checked many of the packing containers I’ve for a mid-round blocker who can are available and begin straight away. And he tested like a high-caliber athlete. For causes unbeknownst to me, Inexperienced went undrafted. However he protected like a — you guessed it — early Day 3 decide within the preseason with one allowed pressured on 43 pass-blocking snaps. Naturally, the Texans launched him on cutdown day, as a result of Houston is totally set on its offensive line and would not want any younger and proficient blockers. Yeah proper. 

Haynes was Seattle’s fourth-round decide in 2019, and after starting his rookie season on PUP as a result of a sports activities hernia surgical procedure, he was thrust onto the sector within the Seahawks’ wild card spherical win over the Eagles in Philadelphia. And he seemed strong! He spent most of final season on IR with one other damage, however he is wholesome now and was dominant — largely towards backups — within the preseason. Plus, he examined like a highly explosive guard prospect on the mix. 

Putting Fulgham on the apply squad isn’t any method to deal with your reigning workforce chief in receiving yards. However right here we’re. The kinda-sorta rebuilding Eagles waived Fulgham on the finish of August, which was bizarre to say the least. Positive, they’ve invested closely in younger wideouts of late however, umm, Fulgham is a younger wideout who made probably the most of his alternative in 2020 with 539 yards and 4 touchdowns at greater than 14 yards per seize. Do I feel Fulgham is the following DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin in Philly? No. He is most likely not. However he is deserving of the highest spot within the PSPR. 

5. Derek Tuszka, EDGE, Steelers

Tuszka is again. He was a 2020 PSPR alum who was referred to as up early within the season however not often acquired an opportunity to truly rush the passer in Denver on a workforce that did not have Von Miller all season. Bizarre. Now he is on one other membership with a menacing move rush. The previous North Dakota State star in fact rocked the FCS ranks throughout his time with the Bison — 19 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks in his ultimate season — then had a three-cone time of 6.78 on the mix. There are some pass-rush strikes in his arsenal too, and now he is had time so as to add energy to his recreation. 

Carter has the girth, leverage, burst, and simply sufficient pass-rush strikes to be a productive contributor if he will get The Name in Arizona. I am very excessive on him. 

He is at No. 6 this week merely because of the veteran edge-rushing expertise in entrance of him on the Cardinals’ 53-man roster proper now. 

It may take greater than a first-year reduce for me to drop my #TrustTheTape draft crush from the 2021 class. Newsome seemed electrical on movie however flopped on the North Carolina Professional Day. Then, within the offseason, he broke his collarbone. So issues have gone sideways for Newsome after he stepped off the sector in Chapel Hill. Nonetheless, on the sector, he is a slippery slot wideout with critical YAC juice who might be helpful in in the present day’s separation/YAC primarily based NFL. 

The Payments grabbed Lewis from close by College at Buffalo through the undrafted free-agency frenzy instantly following the 2019 draft. And he is quietly gone about his enterprise in two preseasons by permitting simply 91 yards on 10 receptions, and he is clung to a practice-squad spot in Buffalo as a result of he is a super-steady tackler in house. Head coach Sean McDermott loves that from his corners. 

The Seahawks are the Patriots of the NFC in that they adore late-round and undrafted free agent receivers. Johnson would be the subsequent against-all-odds story in Seattle, a small, crisp route-runner who’s feisty after the catch and hauls in every thing thrown in his route. Sound like every not too long ago productive Seahawks receiver?

Bradley-King had 4 pressures on 40 pass-rush snaps within the preseason. That is not superior. It is also not brutal, and the sixth-round decide made an influence towards the run this summer season. He additionally indicated his arrow is pointing up on the sector in school. Bradley-King was a productive rusher at Arkansas State however transferred to Baylor, and the brilliant lights of the Large 12 weren’t too huge for him. He is a fast, comparatively flexible and stocky rusher with lengthy arms and a pleasant array of pass-rushing strikes. 

Honorable Point out

David Moore, OG, Browns

Moore is a mauler with a pure heart of gravity offensive line coaches dream about throughout REM sleep. He was just below 6-2 and 330 kilos at his professional day earlier than the draft. After a stunning profession at Grambling State, Moore acquired a Senior Bowl invite and thrived in Cellular. He is not going to be probably the most athletic blocker in case you’re working a zone scheme, however he is fast sufficient off the ball to be efficient on hole runs, and he is very near being NFL robust already. Plus, no defensive sort out goes to rise up and beneath him to drive him into the quarterback. 

Thomas Graham, CB, Bears

Graham was uncovered a bit on the Senior Bowl. Loads of (largely zone) cornerbacks are. However it is a savage defensive again who tallied eight interceptions and 32 move breakups in his three seasons with the Geese. What Graham lacks in dimension and pure explosion he greater than makes up for with speedy processing and tenacity. 

Hjalte Froholdt, OG, Texans

Inform me this is not a reputation that feels like a devastating guard. Froholdt was a fourth-round decide by the Patriots — you know the way Invoice Belichick adores these mid-round blockers — however spent his rookie season on IR after a shoulder damage in that pesky ultimate preseason game. At Arkansas, the Denmark native was astounding. Stellar run-blocking and a squeaky clear pass-protection resume. He examined like an above-average athlete on the 2019 mix, too. Froholdt can play. Simply wait. 

Cortez Broughton, DT, Chiefs 

Broughton was a late-round decide by the Chargers in 2019, and he possesses the first-step quickness and suppleness to provide as a rotational pass-rushing specialist when referred to as upon. He had 7.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss — whereas taking part in a good quantity of his snaps out of place at defensive finish — throughout his ultimate yr at Cincinnati. The Chiefs neatly scooped him up after their most formidable division rival let him go this August. 

Stephen Sullivan, TE, Panthers

Sullivan was buried on the receiving pecking order at LSU, and the Seahawks tried to morph him right into a defensive finish after choosing him within the seventh spherical two years in the past. Again to his pure place in Carolina, Sullivan has an opportunity to make a splash and not using a bunch of stars in entrance of him. He is 6-5 and 248 kilos with 4.66 velocity and a catch radius the dimensions of a Chevy Tahoe.

Dez Fitzpatrick, WR, Titans

In all probability the NFL’s most egregious subsequent selections from the draft to cutdown day, the Titans traded up in Spherical 4 to select Fitzpatrick in April, and he did not even make the workforce out of camp. Now, I can not let you know precisely why that occurred. But it surely did. Fitzpatrick has good dimension, 4 years of strong manufacturing in school, sub 4.50 velocity, eager route-running means, and he caught three passes for 58 with a landing within the preseason. 

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