Rams draft analysis: Receiving corps remains intact and Cooper Kupp’s return will help

Rams draft analysis: Receiving corps remains intact and Cooper Kupp’s return will help
Rams wide receivers Cooper Kupp (18), Robert Woods (17), Brandin Cooks (12) join a celebration after a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on Oct. 7, 2018. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

As the Rams prepare for the NFL draft, The Times will examine their roster. Part 6 of 8: Receivers.

The Rams’ wide receiver and tight ends corps appears set.


No players from last season left as free agents and no new players were added or subtracted via free agency or trades.

“It’s really nice being able to pick up where we left off,” quarterback Jared Goff said this week at the start of offseason workouts.

Last year at this time, Brandin Cooks was newly arrived from the New England Patriots, where he played his fourth NFL season before the Rams acquired him in exchange for their 2018 first-round pick.

Cooks processed the Rams’ system quickly, signed an $80-million extension before the start of training camp and then produced his fourth consecutive 1,000-yard season.

Robert Woods also produced a 1,000-yard season — his first — as the Rams’ passing attack flourished.

Cooper Kupp was off to a good start before suffering a season-ending knee injury, and Josh Reynolds proved capable by stepping up in Kupp’s absence.

With Kupp on track to return, receiver will not be a priority when the NFL draft begins Thursday in Nashville. The Rams have the 31st pick, and six picks in rounds three through seven.

If the Rams take a receiver, it will be in the later rounds, general manager Les Snead said.

“Is there a guy, maybe a taller guy that gives you a red-zone threat?” he said.

The Rams could could seek a slot receiver to prevent Woods from having to switch positions again if Kupp suffers a setback. And deep threats are always intriguing, Snead said.

Coach Sean McVay came to the Rams with a reputation of making tight ends a large part of the offense.

That did not play out in McVay’s first season in 2017, but Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett improved last season and played key roles in several victories.

Everett, a second-round pick in 2017, was sidelined throughout training camp last year because of a shoulder injury. As the season progressed, he flashed the playmaking ability that made him such a threat at South Alabama. He caught two touchdown passes in the Rams’ 54-51 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, including one for 40 yards.

Under contract for 2019: Cooks ($15.3 million), Woods ($7.2 million), Higbee ($2.2 million), Everett ($1.6 million), Kupp ($1.1 million), Reynolds ($807,006), Mike Thomas ($749,017), JoJo Natson ($645,000), Johnny Mundt ($570,000), KhaDarel Hodge ($570,000), Austin Proehl ($495,000).


Free agents: The Rams did not lose any receivers or tight ends to free agency. They will probably sign a few free-agent tight ends after the draft.

Draft: The Rams are set at receiver, seemingly for the long term. Unless they can find an unusual talent, they will probably focus on other positions. McVay always will be on the lookout for versatile tight ends.

Roster decisions: Higbee, a fourth-round draft pick in 2016, is in the final year of his rookie contract. Last season, he caught 24 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns.

NEXT: Quarterbacks.