After quiet rookie year, Brycen Hopkins has golden opportunity to help Rams in 2021

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Cameron DaSilva
·2 min read
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A large contingent of Rams fans were surprised when Los Angeles selected a tight end in the fourth round of last year’s draft. Initially, Brycen Hopkins was a puzzling pick because of the presence of Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett.

But when you zoomed out and looked at it with a multi-year view, it made more sense. Everett was set to be a free agent in 2021 and Hopkins possesses a lot of the same qualities as a tight end. As expected, Hopkins didn’t contribute at all as a rookie. He suited up for just five games, played only two offensive snaps and didn’t catch a pass.

But heading into next season, Hopkins has a perfect opportunity to play a meaningful role for the Rams as the No. 2 tight end. Everett is a member of the Seahawks and Johnny Mundt is the only other threat to Hopkins’ playing time as the second tight end behind Higbee.

This will be a critical offseason for the Purdue product, needing to impress the coaching staff in OTAs and minicamp, assuming they’re held this spring. And then comes training camp in July, as well as three preseason games in August – which Hopkins missed out on last year due to the pandemic.

Like many others, Hopkins has been training hard this offseason and recently shared a video of his workouts.

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Hopkins is an athletic pass-catching tight end, as evidenced by his 4.66 in the 40-yard dash and 116-inch broad jump. He also showed good short-area quickness at the combine with times of 4.28 and 7.25 seconds in the short shuttle and three-cone drill, respectively.

But his hands were unreliable in college and he needs to improve as a blocker. Everyone knew about Everett’s receiving ability, but he was an underrated blocker, too, which was a big reason he played significant snaps behind Higbee in two-tight end sets.

Hopkins doesn’t need to catch 40-plus passes for 400-plus yards like Everett did a year ago, especially with how many weapons Los Angeles has on offense. But he does need to play consistently and show that he can be relied on to haul in passes when targeted.

Because when he does have the ball in his hands, he can be dangerous.