With Allen Robinson to the Bears and Sammy Watkins to the Chiefs, all the interest has focused on the Bears and Chiefs.
Bye, Bye Sammy
You would think losing Sammy Watkins would leave an impact with a crater-like hole to fill. We all know Watkins had a down year, so there is not much to replace. While Watkins took 32 more snaps than Cooper Kupp and 237 more snaps than Robert Woods, he received only the third highest target share on the team. While he did have 8-receiving touchdowns, playing in 15 games with the Rams, he was targeted only 70 times and brought in a measly 39 receptions for 593 yards averaging 15.3 YPC. Sammy was underutilized.
Hello Robert Woods
I’m not sure how I feel about Robert Woods without Sammy. Will his looks be as good without Watkins taking coverage? Am I the only one that’s worried about Robert Woods moving forward? If you owned Woods last season, or even Watkins, you know all about Woods’ success in 2017. As I said above, Woods had 237 fewer snaps than Watkins as well as three fewer games. He was targeted 15 more times than Watkins and caught 17 more passes. Woods finished with 56 receptions and 781 yards, averaging 13.8 yards per reception with five touchdowns. Only playing 16 games one time in his 5-year career, I believe this to be about his ceiling. I see him as a regression candidate and the best case is he has plateaued.
Welcome Josh Reynolds
I don’t want to say Josh Reynolds has been forgotten about by any means. Before the Rams had signed Watkins, I remember a lot of buzz around Reynolds. I couldn’t think of Kenny Golladay without thinking of Reynolds. At 6’3” Reynolds is the likely Watkins replacement on the team. His rookie season was nothing to write home about. Dressing for all 16 games, Reynolds finished his rookie season with 11 receptions, 104 yards, and 1-touchdown. He was only targeted 24 times the entire season. While it’s hard to be excited about that, as the fourth option among the WRs, it’s not that bad. The rookie was entrenched in the depth chart. After Woods’ signing and then the Watkins trade, he had little hope of playing time. Reynolds had to take advantage of any opportunity. Week 12 with Robert Woods out, Reynolds received 6-targets for 4-receptions. Week 13 with Robert Woods out of the game, Reynolds received two more targets than Sammy received (4) and tied Cooper Kupp with 6-receptions. The 6-targets in Week 17 came with the starters resting for the playoffs. With Watkins gone, look for Reynolds to be opposite Woods with a large increase in targets.
Cooper Kupp Time!
Now, this is the rookie I really want to talk about! I love Cooper Kupp. Even before Sammy was gone, I was making moves to acquire Kupp. Kupp led the team in targets, receptions, and yards. With 62 receptions for 869 yards, averaging 14 YPC with 5-TDs, Cooper Kupp finished his rookie season as the number one receiver against press-coverage in the NFL. Finishing just a little more than 10 points better than Travis Kelce. How the Rams use Kupp moving forward is still to be determined, but at 6’2” 205 pounds, I wouldn’t mind another year out of the slot. Time will tell, but I believe Cooper Kupp to be the wide receiver of the future for the Rams.