While the 2019 season was largely a disappointment for the Los Angeles Rams, finishing 9-7 and missing the postseason a year after making the Super Bowl, one positive to take away was the production of their tight ends.
Tyler Higbee emerged as one of the team’s stars in the second half of the season, setting a Rams single season-record for tight ends in both receptions (69) and yards (734) while also adding three touchdowns. He became the first tight end in the Super Bowl era with seven catches and 100 yards in four consecutive games.
Gerald Everett had a solid season in his own right, posting career highs in receptions (37) and yards (408) while adding a pair of touchdowns of his own in just 13 games.
Both of the Rams’ top two tight ends will be returning in 2020, as will a solid depth piece in Johnny Mundt. Additionally, the organization used a fourth-round draft pick on tight end Brycen Hopkins out of Purdue, giving them even more depth and also a ton of upside at the position.
With the start of the season just around the corner, Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus ranked the tight end units on all 32 NFL teams, and the Rams came in at No. 5:
The tight ends became a huge part of the Rams’ passing attack last season, finishing with 1,168 receiving yards, fifth-most of any tight end group in the league.
Tyler Higbee broke out to produce the third-best receiving grade among tight ends (90.1) while catching over 80% of his targets and averaging 5.8 yards after the catch per reception. Gerald Everett finished with the ninth-best receiving grade (78.9), making the duo the only teammates to rank within the top 10. Everett is also one of the most elusive tight ends in the league, as he forced 13 missed tackles on just 37 receptions last season.
Rams head coach Sean McVay has said that he plans to get Higbee and the other tight ends even more involved in the offense in 2020, so another big year from that group can be expected.
The only teams ranked ahead of the Rams were teams that feature stars at tight end in the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If Higbee can reach the level of stardom of George Kittle, Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz and Rob Gronkowski in 2020, then it would not be surprising to see L.A. continue to climb the list in 2021.