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Which Rams Running Back Will Lead The Way For L.A?

After the dust has settled and 53-man rosters have become finalized, what does the Rams’ running back situation look like for the 2022 season?

Rams running back Cam Akers

After the dust has settled and 53-man rosters have become finalized, what does the Rams’ running back situation look like for the 2022 season?

The Rams granted some clarity on Wednesday when they finalized their 53-man regular-season roster. But still muddied is their young backfield of four-deep. Third-year running back Cam Akers seemed poised to come back from injury and become a featured part of their offense. He now shares the top depth chart spot with Darrell Henderson, both have been dealing with soft-tissue injuries as of late.

L.A. also took Notre Dame RB Kyren Williams in the fifth round of this year’s draft. Jake Funk, who has dealt with some fumble trouble through preseason, has also irked out a spot on their roster. What does all of this mean for the defending champions’ running game?

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Evaluating Each Of The Rams Running Backs For The 2022 Season

Cam Akers

Each of the Rams’ ball-runners has an interesting injury history and none are more intriguing to Ram fans than Akers. According to sportingnews.com, the former Florida State product tore his Achilles in June 2021 preparing for training camp. He was seemingly done for the season but made a limited regular season comeback against the San Francisco 49ers.

Surprisingly, he played the entirety of the playoffs as well as that Week 18 matchup. By the Super Bowl, he outpaced fellow backs Henderson and Sony Michel, in attempts 13 to six. Even with the larger workload in the big game, his efficiency was atrocious, as he averaged only 1.6 yards per attempt.

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He was primed to come back as the lead back for an extremely powerful offense. That is until the Rams released their initial depth chart earlier in August and it revealed Henderson as a co-starter. So as his stock seems to drop, reports of soft-tissue injury issues and confidence in Henderson seem to stomp on Akers-truthers’ hearts. 

Darrell Henderson

Suffering from soft tissue issues as well, Henderson has still apparently proven himself in the eyes of Rams Head Coach Sean McVay. Having moved into a “1B” role since taking the bulk of the backfield work last year, injuries yet again plagued his season. He eventually took a backseat to Akers in the playoff run and was destined, until weeks ago, to be a fantasy football handcuff at best. 

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He was somewhat efficient through 13 games last season recording 688 yards and five touchdowns on 149 attempts adding 29 receptions for 176 yards and three more scores. Not exactly a “workhorse” but the Rams were improvising and decidedly leaned on the pass. The expectation is that with more options at the position they will begin to even out, but can these guys take that workload?

Kyren Williams

With pick 164, the Rams selected Williams for depth reasons after drafting a running back in each of the previous three NFL Drafts. In fact, those three are the others on the roster! He was an absolute monster for Notre Dame. The 2020 ACC Rookie of the Year racked up 2,127 rushing yards and 27 TDs in his final two seasons. He also showed proficient pass-catching ability while averaging over 8.5 yards per catch. 

He comes in at McVay’s favorite frame; five-foot-nine and roughly 200 pounds. If he can stay healthy he may work himself in favor of the staff. That has yet to be seen so far as he’s already had surgery to repair a broken foot he suffered in OTAs. Even so, he’s made his impression and sits third on the chart ahead of Funk. 

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Jake Funk

Funk, a 2021 seventh-round draft pick who made waves on social media for his last name during training camp, also made the cut. Since being drafted, he has been rather slow to develop. Last year he played sparingly after coming back from two torn ACLs in college.

Since then, he hasn’t made much of an impression getting large workloads in preseason and training camp, even as the team rests the other top options in the running game. His largest timeshare came in the final preseason matchup where he carried the ball 12 times for 32 yards and lost a fumble. He also looked in his only target for five yards. 

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He shouldn’t be featured in the offense so it doesn’t hurt to have him develop behind those guys. But with injury history rampant in this RB-room, he’ll have to continue and work to stay healthy.

Final Thoughts On The Rams 2022 Running Back Room

Akers is not to be looked at as a “workhorse” back. No one in this backfield should be. His upside is intriguing and that is his role; to find and exploit that upside.  If he can be one of few who can come back from an Achilles injury, then his worth in open-field situations can be very rewarding.

Henderson presents a stout size that is just good enough to facilitate McVay’s offense but does lack longevity and breakaway speed. That’s where Akers comes in. McVay has allowed training camp to run its course and has realized that the two together can create variety in his schemes.

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Henderson’s also proven he can provide quality work at the highest level of competition. Used sparingly, they can hopefully help each other stay healthy and he can be a quality “two” in the “one-two punch” McVay hopes he’s garnered here. 

Williams has serious potential to become the lead back in the future if things stay in their current trajectory. His college tape shows his explosive ability, regardless of his poor 4.65 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine last March. His foot surgery was a setback, but just that if he works into a role during this season. 

And Funk is a wild card. We have no idea if he works out, but he’s been more valuable than most round-seven picks so far in his career. His time may never come as a lead back, but if he can contribute to a positional room that is young and unproven, then his worth may never have to come into question anyway. 

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The Rams are still in a good position even with all of this news. McVay does not commonly draw up passes to the position, only passing to RBs 76 times on the season, good for 31st in the league. With that in mind, guys who can offer a variety of skill sets on the ground as well as contribute an efficient pass-block for QB Matthew Stafford can form a beautiful committee. It may not excite fantasy owners, but it’s a “football move” that breathes this new era of the NFL we’ve entered. 

If McVay values anything in his game plan, it’s innovation. Moving from the ideal ability to hyper-use a “do-it-all” guy, to the RB position being a flexible offensive chess piece is a forced evolution. It is a perfect lead-in to the newest chapter of the dynasty L.A. is trying to etch into history.


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Written By

Hello, I’m Coy Davenport! I offer passionately constructed articles that can help engage with audiences through both education AND entertainment for all things NFL football. Based in Los Angeles, California my love for the sport has an astute emphasis on the Los Angeles Rams, in other words, I BLEED blue and gold. I graduated Arkansas State University with a bachelor's degree in Creative Media Production with an emphasis in Writing. I moved to Los Angeles in October 2020 and I started by myself creating a website solely for NFC West coverage mid-way through the 2021 NFL offseason. Later, I decided I wanted to catalogue and record more fantasy-centric statistics. So I’ve done more research and met with others in the industry to gain knowledge and skills of the craft. Since then, I’ve been writing more fantasy pieces along with speculative articles/editorials in hopes that I’ll be able to reach a wider audience with my voice. I dedicate hours a day to in-depth research and content creation, and I’m determined to deliver meaningful takes and news to the audience of the most important aspect of the League… your World Champion Los Angeles Rams!

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