L.A. Rams position outlook 2021: Receivers

Rams need to add a vertical threat through the draft or free agency
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With Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, the Los Angeles Rams had one of the most productive receiver tandems in the NFL again last season. Third receiver Josh Reynolds flashed explosive playmaking ability and last year’s second-round selection Van Jefferson has a chance to make a jump in development next year. Still, the Rams could use some help at receiver in 2021.

Locks: Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson
On the bubble: Nsimba Webster, Trishton Jackson, J.J. Koski
Free agents: Josh Reynolds

The good: Kupp led the Rams in receptions (92), receiving yards (974) and finished with three total touchdowns. Woods finished with 90 receptions for 936 receiving yards and eight total TDs. Kupp’s 1,309 receiving yards from the slot is No. 3 in the NFL over the last two seasons. Woods’ 155 rushing yards was No. 3 among receivers in 2020. Reynolds had his best season as a pro, posting 52 receptions for 618 receiving yards and two total touchdowns. Woods played a full, 16-game season for just the third time in his eight-year NFL career.

The bad: Kupp missed a regular season contest against the Arizona Cardinals due to the league’s COVD-19 protocols and missed L.A.’s NFC divisional playoff game against the Green Bay with bursitis in his knee. The Rams finished with 26 drops as a receiving group. L.A.’s six passing plays of 40-plus yards was tied for eight-worst in the NFL. The Rams’ 20 passing touchdowns was seventh-worst in the league. L.A.’s 6.8 yards per pass play was No. 19 in the NFL.

The money: Both Woods and Kupp signed new contract extensions last season. Kupp is scheduled to make $13 million in total compensation in 2021, while Woods is slated to earn $12.5 million in total compensation next season. Jefferson will make $865,052 on the second year of his rookie deal. Webster will make $850,000, and Jackson and Koski are set to make $780,000 if they are on the active roster at the start of next season.

Draft priority: Reynolds should have other suitors and likely will not be back in free agency, leaving a void for Jefferson to step in as the third receiver and potential deep threat for Matthew Stafford. Jackson and Koski also flashed potential during training camp. But the Rams should seek an explosive playmaker in the draft, someone like Demetric Felton from UCLA or Purdue’s Rondale Moore – electric players who can create chunk plays by making defenders miss in space. The Rams could also look to free agency for a deep threat by signing someone like Tyrell Williams. The Oakland Raiders reportedly plan to release the 29-year-old Western Oregon product. Williams missed the entire 2020 season with a shoulder injury that required surgery. However, Williams has a career average of 16 yards per catch and could be a player brought in to take the top off the defense for the Rams. The Rams could sign Williams to a one-year, prove-it deal. The Eagles also released Los Angeles native DeSean Jackson, so he could make some sense as well.