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Position battle preview: Second tight end spot

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, and the second safety spot, today we examine those vying for the second tight end spot alongside Tyler Higbee.

The skinny

With a double-digit career yards per reception average, Gerald Everett was relied on by the Rams as a big-play threat in the passing game capable of stretching the field vertically. He maintained that average via 41 receptions for 417 yards (plus one touchdown) in 16 games, then followed former Rams pass game coordinator Shane Waldron to Seattle and signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks as an unrestricted free agent. Now, Los Angeles must search for Everett's replacement to complement Higbee.

The candidates (in alphabetical order)

Experience: Two seasons

Notes: While he has only appeared in one game with the Rams since signing with them as an undrafted free agent in 2019, Blanton did have a double-digit yards per reception average (10.8) across four seasons at the University of Missouri. Blanton spent the 2020 season on the Rams' practice squad, then signed a reserve/future deal with the team in January.

Experience: Rookie

Notes: A fourth-round draft pick and converted wide receiver out of UCF, Harris will need time to develop, but Rams head coach Sean McVay gave him some reps with quarterback Matthew Stafford during organized team activities this spring to help that process. Harris hauled in 26 catches for 472 yards and seven touchdowns while starting in six of nine games for UCF last year.

Experience: One season

Notes: Tight ends coach and pass game coordinator Wes Phillips last year described Hopkins as "very athletic," "strong," and "physical," The lack of on-field work meant Hopkins would need more time to develop and learn the techniques Phillips teaches his group, but that redshirt year should still help, especially heading into this season. Hopkins mainly played on special teams as a rookie, appearing in five games.

Johnny Mundt

Experience: Mundt is most prominently recognized for his blocking abilities, but he also showed he was a capable target in the passing game with his three receptions for 48 yards against the Bears on Monday Night Football last season. He re-signed with the Rams on a one-year deal in March after appearing in all 16 games with one start and finishing with four receptions for 53 yards overall in 2020.

Take a look at photos of the Los Angeles Rams tight ends ahead of 2021 Rams Training Camp.

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