The 2020 season was crazy.
No one ever thought we would fans in the stadium at all this season, let alone during the Super Bowl.
Sadly all good things must come to an end as we say goodbye to another NFL season and hello to another one on the horizon. The Rams already made a splash this offseason trading away Jared Goff to the Detroit Lions for the veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Before we say goodbye completely to the 2020 season, I’ve spent the time analyzing the Rams’ play this season to give out player awards for the 2020 season. Think the NFL honors for the Los Angeles Rams. I won’t be doing coaches and Walter Payton because we all know who would win those.
Here are the Rams players who had award-winning performances in 2020.
Defensive Rookie of the Year // Jordan Fuller
Jordan Fuller came in clutch and made the most of every snap he got. The Ohio State prospect proved he could take care of things if John Johnson leaves in free agency. The Rams have depth at safety, with Taylor Rapp, Terrell Burgess, and JuJu Hughes also getting snaps. Fuller getting the snaps he got this season as a rookie shows the team trusts him and wants to see more from him. It won’t be too long before we start seeing Fuller in the Pro Bowl conversation. He might be the centerpiece of the fierce secondary, but opposing teams can’t overlook him.
Fuller had 60 total tackles and three interceptions, with two of those coming off Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady in his first week off IR. He’s earned the starting job and will be looking to him next season. He was the Rams’ Rookie of the Year, and his stats prove he deserved the honor. He’s going to be something special for the secondary for years to come.
Offensive Rookie of the Year // Van Jefferson
There’s not much to chose from, but Van Jefferson wins Offensive Rookie of the Year on a technicality. However, he showed up to play and showed flashes of what he could do with a more permanent role. It’s hard to stand out as wide receiver four, but Jefferson still had 220 yards on 19 receptions. If Josh Reynolds leaves in free agency, he’ll presumably assume the wide receiver three spot. He’s likely to see a major uptick in production next season.
If the Rams are smart, they’ll keep Jefferson for a long time. He has a chance to become the next Cooper Kupp or Robert Woods. He might need a few years, but both veteran wide receivers have a few years left on their extensions.
I can’t wait to see where this kid goes from here.
Rookie of the Year // Cam Akers
Cam Akers exploded at the end of the year. Injury held him back early in the season, but he found his footing in December. In the month alone, he ran for 340 yards — that’s over half his rushing yards for the year. He was also effective in the passing game. He was solemnly used but caught almost 80% of his targets for 123 yards and a touchdown. In the postseason, he lit up opponents running for 221 yards and a touchdown in each game.
He might not have been a touchdown machine; however, there is always room for improvement. He’ll look to have a great season in 2021 with a full offseason program and training camp. He’s the replacement to Todd Gurley. It might not have looked like it, thanks to injury, but he found his rhythm in the offense. Sean McVay is going to capitalize on that success next season.
Break Out Player of the Year // Darious Williams
Darious Williams should remain a Ram next season. He proved to be a reliable corner opposite Jalen Ramsey. The Rams don’t have plenty of depth at cornerback, so maintaining Williams is crucial. He had five interceptions between the playoffs and regular season, 44 tackles, and 14 pass deflections. In his first full season as a Ram, he’s shown his value.
Williams showed all season he had an for the ball. Beyond the UAB prospect’s team-leading four interceptions, he also led the team in pass deflections with 14. He has to be one of the best undrafted free agent pick-ups for the Rams. You can’t count out that underdog mentality working for every opportunity, and he earned his spot on this roaster.
It will be a shame if the Rams lose this stud to free agency. Football is won through the turnover battle, and Williams will help the Rams win that battle.
Offensive Player of the Year // Cooper Kupp
It came down to Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Despite Woods’s sizable lead in touchdowns and a slight edge in targets, Kupp was the more productive receiver. Kupp had 974 yards on 124 targets, 529 yards after the catch, and three touchdowns. He also averaged 65 yards per game and 45 first down receptions.
There is no doubt Kupp was Jared Goff’s favorite receiver. But, who will be Matthew Stafford’s? We’ll have to wait and see.
Defensive Player of the Year // Jalen Ramsey
Defensive players are so hard to judge because it’s trying to decide which stats are more impressive. Is it sacks because then Aaron Donald should get it. Is it interceptions? Give it to Darious Williams — he had four. How about solo tackles? Total tackles? Then Pro Bowl snub John Johnson should get it.
However, sometimes it’s the stats that can’t be measured on paper, or at least on a defensive stat sheet. Jalen Ramsey was a true shutdown corner and silenced opposing teams’ receivers. He put on a clinic against DK Metcalf in week 10 and Deandre Hopkins in week 17.
He’s one of the best corners in the league, and he showed it this year. He’s earned every cent of that $100 million contract.
Clutch Play // Jordan Fuller’s Second Interception against Tampa Bay Buccaneers
His play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneer speaks for itself. He had four tackles, two pass deflection, and two interceptions against the goat Tom Brady. His first 37-yard interception even led to a Rams touchdown.
However, his second touchdown ended the game. You can never count out Tom Brady when he’s down late in the fourth quarter. He was marching down the field, eyeing a touchdown to beat the Rams. However, Fuller comes up clutch with his second interception of the game, giving the ball back to the Rams with 1:49 left.
MVP // Aaron Donald
The Rams have their own G.O.A.T., and that is Aaron Donald. What more can you say about the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year and the Rams’ Most Valuable Player.
He had 13.5 sacks (resulting in 86 yards lost for opposing teams), 19.5 tackles for a loss, 28 QB hits, four forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.
What makes him stand out, though, is how important he is for the line to work.
During the NFC Divisional Round, the defensive line struggled without Donald out there.
With Donald out there, offenses have to double team him leaving everyone else on one on ones. Then, if a team gets cocky thinking a single offensive lineman has a chance against him, they’re sadly mistaken.
Featured Image: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times