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Rams’ Stock Up, Stock Down: Is Aaron Donald in decline?

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By: Steven Ridings

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

5 up and 5 down after their suffocating loss to the Cardinals

The stock for the Los Angeles Rams 2022 season continues to plummet with three consecutive losses and losses in five of the last six after falling to the Cardinals on Sunday. Even with superstars across a multitude of positions, LA is in a position it has never been with Sean McVay as head coach. For years, the Rams were able to win off the back of Aaron Donald.

But now, even the Rams legend himself, is struggling to help the Rams win this year.

Stock Up

1. Kyren Williams, RB

Week 11 was Kyren Williams’ first NFL game with extensive action. And it didn’t take long for Kyren Williams to out-snap Cam Akers. Williams only had one carry, but it went for nine yards. He also showcased his ability as a pass catcher, working as a checkdown option for Wolford. He caught three passes for 30 yards. Williams needs more polish in pass protection, but I like what he showed in a limited sample size.

2. Brandon Powell, WR/PR

When Van Jefferson returned in Week 8, it was assumed that Brandon Powell and Ben Skowronek’s roles would shrink with his return. But through the first half on offense, it was Brandon Powell being used at a higher rate than Van Jefferson.

On special teams, Powell returned three punts for 30 yards with a long of 18 yards. For a team that was struggling with field position in recent weeks, Powell put a good foot forward to give the Rams a chance in Week 10.

3. Bobby Wagner, ILB

Bobby Wagner has been one of the few bright spots of the Los Angeles Rams in 2022. The Rams defense has been more balanced with his insertion into the starting 11. Wagner added another nine tackles (four solo), a sack, and a tackle for a loss.

4. Tyler Higbee, TE

After two duds in back-to-back weeks, Higbee showed life again. He led the Rams in receptions and yards, recording eight catches (eight targets) for 73 yards. Unfortunately, Higbee still has not found the endzone. Higbee had the longest play of the day.

5. Van Jefferson, WR

Despite not being a factor through the game’s first three quarters, Van Jefferson was able to catch three passes (three targets) for 27 yards and a touchdown. It’s never a positive to see a teammate go down due to injury, but this might be the path for Van Jefferson to make a mark for the rest of the season and going into 2023.

Stock Down

1. David Long Jr, CB

David Long Jr received positive reinforcement from Raheem Morris earlier in the week that he would resume the role as the team’s third cornerback instead of Derion Kendrick. After Sunday’s performance, the Rams may switch back because of the state of their season and with Long Jr’s pending free agency. Giving Derion Kendrick and Cobie Durant opportunities to grow in experience for the defense in 2023 would be most valuable.

2. Bryce Perkins, QB

Based on Sunday’s snap counts, Perkins was only on the field to provide RPO ability. However, since Perkins lacks arm talent, Wolford was the one to get the bulk of the snaps. Even though Wolford had his struggles, Perkins possesses zero ability to push the football downfield against an opposing starting defense. There’s a difference between Bryce Perkins and a Justin Fields. One can make an NFL throw, the other is limited to a screen pass.

3. Chandler Brewer, RG

JJ Watt was lined up against Chandler Brewer for the majority of Sunday afternoon. Watt had five quarterback hits making life difficult for John Wolford.

4. Terrell Lewis, EDGE

The Rams 2020 third rounder has been a letdown. The six foot-five edge rusher has only recorded six sacks in 28 games. Jonathan Greenard from Florida was selected six picks later and recorded more sacks in 2021 alone (eight). Alex Highsmith was selected 18 picks after Lewis and has recorded 14.5 sacks in 40 games.

5. Aaron Donald, DL

Yes, you read correctly. I’m not writing that Aaron Donald had a bad game. I’m writing that his stock after Week 10 was not where you would hope for it to be. Arizona was missing DJ Humphries and Max Garcia, not to mention Kyler Murray. This was the type of game that you would like to see Aaron Donald take over. He finished with seven tackles (three solo), but zero sacks and zero tackles for loss despite Arizona rushing 22 times. For the first time in the Sean McVay era, even Aaron Donald might not be enough to lift Los Angeles to a winning season.

Originally posted on Turf Show Times – All Posts