NFC Championship Game: Los Angeles Rams roster, starters by position
In Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the 49ers, the Rams can become only the second team in NFL history to reach a Super Bowl at their home stadium.
Ahead of the 2021 NFL season, the bosses at the Los Angeles Rams knew they had to do everything they could to give the franchise the best possible chance of reaching the Super Bowl at their home stadium.
Arrival of QB Stafford the key to Rams' Super Bowl pursuit
So Les Snead, the Rams’ general manager, went looking for the cornerstone of a project that could achieve that. In other words, he went looking for a quarterback.
And since the NFL is the land of opportunity, the Detroit Lions agreed to a trade involving the two franchises’ starting QBs.
The deal took seed in January 2021, when Matthew Stafford asked the Lions to explore the possibility of trading him. By mid-March, when the free agency period began, this had become a reality.
Stafford joined the Rams and, in exchange, Detroit got Jared Goff and three college picks, including Los Angeles’ first-round selections in the 2022 and 2023 draft.
Stafford hasn’t disappointed in LA. He has thrown for 4,886 yards and equalled his career record of 41 touchdown passes in 2021. He has also registered the highest number of passing yards in franchise history and equalled Kurt Warner’s record for the most TD passes in a season.
After years and years of frustration in Detroit, Stafford has finally arrived at a team with enough talent to fight for silverware.
That wasn’t the only deal done by Snead, who added another couple of starters with trades.
At the end of August, the Rams acquired running back Sony Michel in a trade with the New England Patriots in exchange for two draft picks in the sixth round in 2022 and the fourth round in 2023.
Michel, a starter in seven regular season games, led the team with 845 rushing yards, an average of 4.1 per attempt, and four touchdowns.
After the two fumbles by Cam Akers in the Divisional Round last week in Tampa, it’s likely that Michel will get more opportunities in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
In early November, the Rams picked up another key piece in the jigsaw, when they acquired linebacker Von Miller in a trade with the Denver Broncos.
Miller joined a defensive line that includes another two stars: tackle Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
In exchange, the Rams gave the Broncos their second and third round picks in the 2022 draft. In the Divisional Round against the Buccaneers, Miller sacked Tom Brady once, and forced and recovered a fumble from the legendary quarterback, in what may well have been his last game in the NFL.
Free agents and college picks
The Rams have also recruited well when it comes to free agents, picking up players such as wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr (2021), linebacker Leonard Floyd (2020), kicker Matt Gay (2020), tackle Andrew Whitworth (2017) and wide receiver Robert Woods (2017).
But draft picks are the key to building a roster in the NFL, and the Rams have used their selections to put together a team that’s a force to be reckoned with.
It all began in the first round of the 2014 draft, with Aaron Donald; three years later, Cooper Kupp arrived in the third round.
In 2021, Kupp became only the fourth player since 1970 to lead the NFL in receptions (145), yards (1,947) and touchdown receptions (16) in the same season.
His 1,947 yards were the second-most in a season, behind only the 1,964 managed by Calvin Johnson in 2012, while his 145 receptions are only bettered by Michael Thomas, who registered 149 in 2019.
In 2020, the Rams recruited running back Cam Akers and wide receiver Van Jefferson, while safety Taylor Rapp was a second round pick in 2019.
However, having given up so many picks as part of trades, the Rams won’t have a lot of ammunition in the 2022 and 2023 drafts. Of course, that’ll be forgotten if they make history by becoming only the second team to win the Super Bowl on home turf.
Rams' projected starters in NFC Championship Game
|Offensive positions||Defensive positions||Special teams|
|QB||9||Matthew Stafford||LDE||94||A'Shawn Robinson||K||8||Matt Gay|
|RB||25||Sony Michel||NT||91||Greg Gaines||P||6||Johnny Hekker|
|WR||10||Cooper Kupp||RDE||99||Aaron Donald||PR||19||Brandon Powell|
|WR||3||Odell Beckham Jr||LILB||32||Travin Howard||KR||19||Brandon Powell|
|WR||12||Van Jefferson (Q)||RILB||51||Troy Reeder|
|TE||89||Tyler Higbee||SLB||40||Von Miller|
|LT||77||Andrew Whitworth||WLB||54||Leonard Floyd|
|LG||73||David Edwards||RCB||5||Jalen Ramsey|
|C||55||Brian Allen||SS||33||Nick Scott|
|RG||63||Austin Corbett||FS||24||Taylor Rapp (Q)|
|RT||79||Rob Havenstein||LCB||11||Darious Williams|