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Position battle preview: Running back rotation

A handful of offseason departures have created openings for multiple key roles on both the Rams' offense and their defense that will be closely monitored during Rams Training Camp presented by UNIFY Financial Credit Union. will be previewing the candidates for each ahead of camp. After breaking down those for nickel defensive back, the second EDGE spot, the second safety spot, and the second tight end spot, we wrap up the series with a look at how the rest of the running back rotation will shake out.

The skinny

At first, the only role to fill at running back for the Rams was the third member of the rotation after Malcolm Brown signed a two-year deal with Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent earlier this offseason. However, in wake of Cam Akers' Achilles injury this week, there are now two spots in the rotation to be filled next to third-year pro Darrell Henderson Jr.

Rams head coach Sean McVay said during an appearance on ESPN LA 710 AM Tuesday morning that he wouldn't rule out the veteran route, but it's not something they will pursue right now. He likes their young depth at the position and wants to evaluate how they fare in competitive situations like joint practices during the preseason.

The candidates (in alphabetical order)

Experience: Rookie

Notes: Anderson would give the Rams another multi-faceted running back to work with, having finished his UCF career eighth all-time in all-purpose yards (3,708) and total touchdowns (27). He played in nine games with five starts at running back last year for the Knights, posting 125 carries for 687 yards and four touchdowns plus 14 receptions for 79 yards.

Experience: One season

Notes: Known for his speed, was primarily brought in last season to boost the Rams' kick return game, but that could also be an asset to the running back rotation. Calais appeared in four games on special teams last season.

Experience: Rookie

Notes: The Rams liked Funk's special teams value, and, as detailed in the July 12 feature on him, Senior Personnel Adviser Taylor Morton gave him the highest instincts grade out of all the running backs in this year's class. Funk tallied 60 carries for 516 yards and three touchdowns in four games during the Big Ten's abbreviated season, also chipping in 10 catches for 68 yards and one touchdown in the passing game.

Experience: One season

Notes: Jones was one of three undrafted free agents who made the Rams' initial 53-man roster in 2020, and his performances in their two preseason scrimmages last year caught the attention of defensive lineman Aaron Donald. He appeared in 13 regular season games and both of Los Angeles' playoff games as a rookie, primarily on special teams.

Check out photos of Los Angeles Rams running backs ahead of 2021 Rams Training Camp.

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