Los Angeles Rams tight end Brycen Hopkins was part of the rookie class that came into the league under unprecedented circumstances due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
First-year players like Hopkins did not have the benefit of a full offseason to help them transition to the next level. As a result, some rookies experienced more growing pains than others and he was among those that struggled to see the field much during the 2020 campaign.
With tight end Gerald Everett gone, Hopkins now has an opportunity to establish himself as the No. 2 tight end behind Tyler Higbee. It seems the prospect of etching out an integral role has not gone unnoticed.
Hopkins admittedly feels more comfortable going into Year 2 and is looking forward to making an impression leading up to the 2021 NFL season, via Sarina Morales of the team’s official website:
“I just want to take advantage of my opportunities as much as I can this season. Every single rep going into training camp I have something to prove. Obviously, I haven’t had as much opportunity as I would like to in the past; considering we couldn’t even be at the facility until later. But now that I have a lot and everything underneath me right now, I feel a little more grounded. I just want to use that foundation to just push myself even further and just go.”
The Rams’ decision to take Hopkins with a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft took some by surprise considering how deep they were at the position. Fortunately, it is a move that can now pay some dividends with the departure of Everett.
Hopkins boasts a similar skill set as an athletic pass-catcher with enough promise to potentially garner some looks from quarterback Matthew Stafford. Of course, he will need to make his presence felt if he hopes to edge out Johnny Mundt and Jacob Harris on the depth chart.
Head coach Sean McVay clearly has an affinity for bringing in potential weapons with high upside on offense. This has been part of the team’s efforts to bring back that element of explosiveness this group has lacked in recent years.
The Rams managed to add a couple of speedsters to the mix this offseason in the form of wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Tutu Atwell. However, Stafford is also going to need his big-bodied targets to step up as reliable options in the passing game.