By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
The L.A. Rams had to wait until round two of the NFL draft to try and add talent after having traded the #1 pick to acquire Jalen Ramsey, with two second round picks they first landed Cam Akers (52 overall) RB from Florida State followed by wide receiver Van Jefferson (57th overall) from Florida.
While at FSU Akers rushed for 2,874 yards with 27 rushing touchdowns averaging 4.9 yards per carry. He also had 69 receptions for 486 yards and seven touchdowns. With the recent departure of Todd Gurley there was a need for running back.
Jefferson was a grad transfer from Ole Miss. Between the two schools Florida (2018-19) and Ole miss (2015-17) he caught 175 passes for 2,175 yards (12 ypc Avg.) with 16 touchdowns.
His father Shawn Jefferson played 12 years in the NFL and now coaches for the New York Jets.
“All the times I get to go home to my dad and train with him, I take advantage of those opportunities because I don’t get to see my dad that much,” he told reporters at the Senior Bowl. “When I do see him we take advantage of those opportunities. So I think that’s what made me a better route runner this year, because I had time in the summer to go back to New Jersey, get on the field with my dad, and that translated to the field. I spend all my time doing that.”
The Rams also double-dipped in the third-round (84th pick) grabbing linebacker Terrell Lewis out of Alabama and Safety Terrell Burgess (104th) from Utah.
“This guy (Burgess) is tough, he’s smart, he picks things up quickly, he’s got all those intangibles that you’re looking for,” said Rams coach Sean McVay. “Then he’s got the make-up athletically, so there’s a lot of things you like and the more you can do the more of a weapon we can utilize you as on the defensive side of the ball.”
The Oceanside native started all 14 games at strong safety for the Utes in 2019, his first season as a starter. He was third on the team last season with 81 tackles while adding 7.5 tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries, tied for fourth in the Pac-12.
In the 4th round (136) the Rams selected Brycen Hopkins TE from Purdue. In 2019 the 6’5 -245 pounder played in 11 games caught 61 passes for 863 yards (13.4 avg) while scoring 7 touchdowns.
His father Brad Hopkins was a first-round pick by the Houston Oilers in 1993. He is the first Boilermaker tight end to be drafted since Dustin Keller in 2008.
In round six (199) Jordan Fuller a safety from Ohio State got the call-The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Fuller, had 62 tackles, two interceptions and four pass breakups in his last season for the Buckeyes, good enough to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors. He led the Buckeyes with 81 tackles his junior season.
The biggest deal was late rounder LB Clay Johnston, his excitement spilled over to the Ram coaches. “I started to fade a little bit in the seventh round,” Rams coach Sean McVay told the L.A. Times until he spoke with Johnston. “This guy gave me a shot of adrenaline that felt like I was going to put my head through the wall.”
The 6’1 232 pounder finished his career at Baylor with 237 tackles (147 solo). I am hyperventilating,” said Johnston. “I wanted to get under the squat rack I wanted to get some pads on, I’m freaking stoked.”
The Rams have also signed several unsigned free agents including quarterback’s Josh Love of San Jose State and Bryce Perkins of Virginia to name a few.
McVay had this to say about the weekend: “Just the ability to address a bunch of different needs with players we love. Each of these picks demonstrates value to us.”