One of the more surprising picks the Los Angeles Rams made in the 2020 NFL Draft was the selection of Purdue tight end Brycen Hopkins in the fourth round.
There’s no doubt that Hopkins has some talent, catching 61 passes for 830 yards and seven touchdowns en route to first-team All-Big Ten honors last season. But given the Rams’ depth at the tight end position with Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett, many thought they would look to address other positions in this year’s draft.
It’s clear how highly the Rams think of Hopkins in their offense though, and offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell recently spoke to that, via Stu Jackson of TheRams.com:
“Brycen down there in the tight end room, it’s kind of the same thing (as the wide receivers). Higs and Gerald have really established a foundation, a standard in that room that coach (Wes) Phillips has, and I think him getting in there with Johnny Mundt and the other guys as well, the depth out of that really gives you the versatility that I think people have seen around the NFL.
“When you’ve got the multiple skillsets, you’ve got guys that can both run routes and block in the run game, the options are limitless. You can have 1, 2, 3, 4 tight ends on the field if you want to and really force the defense to try to adjust to those personnel groupings and figure out, do they want to match personnel, do they not. When they don’t, what advantages do you have, when they do, what advantages do you have, but it requires those guys to have a really great skillset in there, versatile skillset. The fact that we have that room set up the way we do right now is really exciting.”
Given how versatile tight ends are and the matchup nightmares they create, the Rams can never have too many talented players at the position.
Additionally, with Everett entering the final year of his rookie contract, the Rams now have some insurance in Hopkins should he walk in free agency after this season.
One issue that Hopkins had in his time at Purdue was that he dropped a number of passes. He is aware that is his reputation that and is working to make sure it doesn’t stick in the NFL. How many touches he will get his rookie season remains to be seen, although it would not be surprising to see him on the field a good amount.