Justin Sumpter Looking To Make Name For Himself After Signing With Rams As Undrafted Free Agent
KSU Athletics

Every year during the NFL Draft, more than 100 young men’s dreams come true as they hear their name called by the commissioner and get to fulfill their destiny of being an NFL player.

While many dreams do come true, there are just as many that don’t though with hundreds of other players going undrafted depite feeling like they should have.

One of those players that didn’t hear his name called this year was wide receiver Justin Sumpter. The 22-year-old was hoping to be the first to ever to be drafted out of Kennesaw State, an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision school that plays in the Big South Conference.

While he did not get drafted, Sumpter signed with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent just a couple of days later.

Sumpter sat down with RamsNation.com and discussed how quickly the disappointment of going undrafted faded when he inked his contract with the Rams.

“It was a little disappointing, I just wanted to be the first one from our school’s program to be drafted,” Sumpter admitted. “But I’m really just thankful that I have an opportunity to go out there and play the game that I love and everything. Now it just gives the guys after me something to chase after now to be the first guy to be drafted. Just because you’re not drafted, I want to show that you can still get a spot on a team.”

Sumpter, who was named to the First-Team All-Big South three times in his four years as an Owl despite playing in a triple-option offense, was overlooked because of his low usage in college.

Before signing with the Rams, his only other option was to attend the Tennessee Titans’ minicamp, so it is safe to say he was thankful when the Rams came calling.

“So actually after the draft, I only had the Titans minicamp that I was going to and it was like about 10 minutes after that the Rams went out and called me and invited me to their minicamp. Cut I was already going to the Titans and it was on the same weekend. So they called back the next day and pretty much said the same thing, and a couple hours later they came back and said that they were actually going to try and sign me instead.”

Los Angeles is coming off a season in which it advanced to the Super Bowl and had one of the most explosive offenses in the league. So getting the opportunity to be a part of that and learn under head coach Sean McVay is not something that is lost on Sumpter. “That what I’m most excited about,” he said.

All my friends were like ‘you’re about to be out in LA’ but I’m just more excited about playing under a great coach. He might become one of the greatest coaches of this era just because of how he runs things and everything like that and I’m a guy who likes to learn a lot of different things about the game. Playing under him I really feel like I’m going to get to thrive.”

The Rams also have one of the best receiving corps in the league with Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp.

Sumpter is a bigger, more physical receiver though at 6’3″ and 220 lbs. who is known for making highlight one-handed catches in college. So he is hoping that he will be able to stand out during workouts and training camp this year because of how different he is than the Rams’ current group.

“That’s actually what they were telling me when they called me, that my game is really different from all the guys that they have on the team and that is kind of what I take my pride and joy on.

“So I feel like I’m going to go out there and I can make a big impact on the screen games and even the run games, move the chains. Just to be that guy that they can depend on to set the edge for a blocker or something like that like a receiver screen. So I’m really excited for all of that.”

When asked who he tries to model his game after, Sumpter listed two receivers that have combined for nine Pro Bowl selections in DeAndre Hopkins and Brandon Marshall.

“A guy I really watch a lot right now is DeAndre Hopkins. He’s not the fastest guy out there but he does what he can to get open. He’s real physical, his hands are just really great. Another guy that I like to watch a lot is Brandon Marshall. I feel like he’s probably one of the most underrated receivers to play the game.”

While it won’t be easy, there have been plenty of undrafted offensive players that have made names for themselves in the NFL such as Wes Welker, Antonio Gates, Priest Holmes, Adam Thielen and Phillip Lindsay, who became the first ever undrafted rookie Pro Bowler last year with the Denver Broncos.

Sumpter will be looking to add his name to that list in the near future with the Rams.