As Dr. Chao discussed this morning, Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers tore his Achilles tendon in practice yesterday, a devastating injury which requires surgery and extensive rehabilitation. The team had high expectations for the second-year player. This season, he was supposed to be a part of a revamped Rams offense led by veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Akers played well as a rookie after the Rams selected him in the second round of the 2020 draft. He finished last season with 625 rushing yards on 4.3 yards per attempt, including a breakout 171-yard performance against the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football.
The next players up in the Rams’ backfield include Darrell Henderson, Raymond Calais, and Jake Funk. The injury opens a door of opportunity for Henderson, who, just like Akers, was a second-round pick by this regime. In fact, Henderson was more efficient than Akers in nearly every category last year, though Akers had the momentum at the end of the season.
If the Rams do decide to replace Akers with a free agent, there are plenty of veteran options on the market, though not many of those options seem likely. It would be interesting to reunite Adrian Peterson with Stafford, or Todd Gurley with head coach Sean McVay. Duke Johnson, Frank Gore, LeSean McCoy, and Le’Veon Bell are all waiting for a team to call as well.
The Rams could also go in a different direction and wait for players to get cut, or to swing a trade for a young running back with plenty of tread on the tires. McVay’s offense has historically preferred a workhorse back, but it may evolve into a process by committee.
Rams veterans are scheduled to report to training camp on July 27.