The Los Angeles Rams haven’t had a first-round pick since the 2016 NFL Draft when they used the top overall pick on Cal quarterback Jared Goff. That hasn’t stopped them from being one of the best teams in the NFL when it comes to finding great value throughout the NFL Draft, whether on the second or third day.
Even without a first-round pick, the Rams still had nine selections in the 2021 NFL Draft overall, and they used a handful of them on some intriguing dart throws at the offensive skill positions.
One selection, in particular, was highly intriguing and could pay significant dividends immediately.
The Rams picked Maryland running back Jake Funk in the seventh round of the 2021 Draft and Funk has a chance to be a key contributor early and often for this Rams team.
Funk certainly proved himself this past season at Maryland to the tune of 516 rushing yards on just 60 attempts with 10 receptions for another 68 yards. He scored four total touchdowns in the 2020 season, and finished his time at Maryland with over 1,100 all-purpose yards, 13 total touchdowns, and seven yards per touch.
He not only was able to prove himself on offense as a running back and receiver, but Funk was an awesome special teams player for the Terps with 30 tackles in his time on campus as well as 13 kickoff returns.
There’s no special teams unit this guy has not played on and been productive, which will unquestionably give him an edge at a roster spot early in his time with the Los Angeles Rams.
Funk appeared on the popular NFL Network show Good Morning Football and really sold himself as a prospect, which Rams head coach Sean McVay told Peter Schrager — one of the hosts of the show — made a difference.
Funk is a pretty outstanding story of perseverance considering the fact that he suffered a season-ending ACL injury to the same knee two years in a row in 2018 and 2019.
Those knee injuries are obviously a concern, but they would be much more concerning if Funk had not posted such impressive numbers at the Maryland pro day. He ran a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash, had a 38-inch vertical jump, 122-inch broad jump, 22 reps on the bench press, and a stellar 6.71 in the three-cone drill.
That three-cone time put him in the top four percentile at the running back position and in the top six percentile at any position. His 1.5-second 10-yard split ranked him in the top six percent, regardless of position, as well.
That kind of explosiveness certainly comes across when you watch Funk play the game.
He plays fast, is a no-nonsense type of runner, and has impressive one-cut abilities with contact balance and burst to the second and third level.
With Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson as the top two running backs on the Los Angeles Rams’ depth chart currently, it’s not like Funk is going to be coming into Rams camp and stealing RB1 duties.
What he very well could do, however, is come in and earn a job as the team’s RB3 and factor into the rotation for a handful of snaps each game while being one of the team’s top special teams aces.
With seventh-round draft picks, you’re looking for guys who can contribute in that phase of the game immediately as well as players with high upside. Funk is the ideal seventh-round pick from that perspective and is certainly not going to miss out on an NFL roster spot for lack of effort.