Rams will have an all-rookie special teams unit

Rams will have an all-rookie special teams unit

For the Los Angeles Rams and new Special Teams Coordinator Chase Blackburn, it will be a redux of Romper Room.

 

 

You know, the show that had a group of youngsters scurrying around and participating in exercises, songs, story-telling and moral lessons.

 

 

Rams will have an all-rookie special teams unit

 

 

Now, just add competing for kicking and long snapper specialist roles. Things could easily change, but for now, it’s two rookies seeking the placekicker prize and one each at punter and long snapper. Turf Show Times has already given a quick introduction to Round 7 pick, punter Ethan Evans, so let’s meet the undrafted specialist’s.

Place kicker Tanner Brown, Oklahoma State- 6’ 1” / 177 lbs.

Prospect from Saugus, just up the I-5 freeway. Played two JC seasons at College of the Canyons before walking on at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas for one.

 

 

Wanting to prove his mettle against top competition, Brown sent tapes and politicked special team coaches across the the nation.

 

 

 

 

On kickoffs for the season, Brown averaged 63.3 yards per kick with 37 touchbacks on 81 boots. Brown has some versatility as a punter, as well. At JC, he had 73 punts for 2558 yards and at UNLV, he punted 12 times for an average of 45.5 yards per kick.

Place kicker Christopher Dunn, North Carolina State- 5’ 8” / 175 lbs.

Won the 2022 Lou Groza Award as the nation’s best placekicker and was also named a First Team All-American. Not a big player with booming leg, Dunn excels at short range accuracy.

Over his five seasons and 61 games, he knocked through 96 of 113 field goals, a 85% clip and suffered only two blocks. He was also perfect on 199 extra points.

Rams will have an all-rookie special teams unit

At the NFL Combine, Dunn was amongst six of the top placekicking prospects invited to work out and was the only kicker to hit on all 11 of his kicks. The try’s were from 30 to 55 yards and attempted from both hashes and directly head on.

Long snapper Alex Ward, Central Florida- 6’ 4” / 240 lbs

Long snappers are not noticed until they do something wrong, they toil in anonymity until the day when one of their snaps goes awry. But when a team finds a good one, he can have a long career.

For the Rams, Jake McQuaide handled the job for 11 years, from 2011 through 2021 and Matthew Orzech, an NFL vagabond with six different teams, handled the duties in 2022 before moving on to the Green Bay Packers.

L.A. signed one of college football’s most highly regarded snappers in Ward. The 24 year-old played six college seasons and over his 40 games as a starter, he was not charged with a blown snap. In what little film I could find, he looks consistent on his punt snaps and as the only long snapper invited to the NFL Combine.