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 by Elvis
3 months ago
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 Joined:  Mar 28 2015
United States of America   Los Angeles
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Cooper Kupp, wide receiver, Rams

Though Kupp’s receiving numbers don’t jump off the page (869 yards in his rookie year and 566 yards through eight games in 2018), his impact on the Rams offense is invaluable. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the Rams led the league in 11 (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) personnel usage with a usage rate of more than 90 percent. The Rams were able to run most of their plays effectively from the same personnel grouping because of Kupp’s ability as a blocker and receiver in the slot.

It’s no secret that the Rams run to perimeter a lot with their fly sweep and outside zone game. Kupp is such a good blocker on the edge that he is almost like a second tight end, but with his speed and route-running ability, he is obviously a huge threat as a pass catcher. Essentially, with Kupp on the field, the Rams had both 11 personnel and 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR) at the same time. Defenses had to pick their poison. Do they load up against the run or defend the pass?

Additionally, Kupp has all of the intangibles of a great slot receiver and seems to have a knack for making plays when the Rams need him most.

With Kupp in the lineup, the Rams averaged 21.64 expected points added (EPA) per game. Without Kupp, they averaged 3.177. It’s a complicated stat, but essentially what this says is that Kupp makes the offense a lot more efficient. His return will provide a huge boost for the Rams in their pursuit to return to the Super Bowl.

Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Rams

Everyone knows Aaron Donald is an absolute terror to block inside, but he’s also a terror to block around the edge. Though he doesn’t have the length of a prototypical edge rusher, his combination of speed and technique helps him beat tackles around the corner. In 2018, Donald rushed the passer either head up or shaded on the tackle 334 times. From that alignment, he picked up 30 hurries, 11 hits and eight sacks.

With the ability to line up inside or outside, Donald can attack the opposing team’s weakest offensive linemen. It’s tough to double-team him because offenses have to find him when they break the huddle. What really makes him special is his short-area quickness and ability to flash from gap to gap and still beat blockers. His presence makes the Rams’ defensive line stunt extremely hard to stop. He can literally be anywhere before the snap and after the snap. Donald isn’t just the league’s best interior defensive lineman, he’s the league’s best defensive lineman — period.

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1 post Oct 16 2019