The Rams have Cam Akers in place as their top running back for 2023, despite the team’s efforts to trade him last year. Recent comments from head coach Sean McVay indicate a heavy workload can be expected this season.
The former second-rounder had a falling out with the Rams in 2022 after his return from an Achilles tear led to underwhelming performances. Akers was believed to be on his way out of Los Angeles – as acknowledged by McVay himself – in what would have been a change-of-scenery trade near the deadline. The Rams declined offers on that front, setting up a return to the fold to close out the season.
Akers appeared to have regained his pre-injury form down the stretch, racking up 512 rushing yards and six touchdowns over the final six contests of what was a lost campaign for the Rams. Overall, he totaled 786 yards on the ground at a clip of 4.2 yards per carry, figures which should allow the 23-year-old to carry over that success into the upcoming season, the final one of his rookie contract. A lead role in the backfield and the team’s offense as a whole appears to be in McVay’s plans at this point.
“He’s really capitalized on a lot of the momentum he built up toward the latter part of the year. And he’s going to be a huge part of what we’re doing moving forward,” he said when asked about Akers. “He’s had a great offseason… Cam is going to be a central figure in this offense… He’s taking great care of himself physically, he’s in a good place mentally. Just continuing to mature and I’m really excited about what he’s going to do for us this year” (h/t Cameron DaSilva of RamsWire).
A strong season from Akers would mark a notable reunion of sorts with a franchise he seemed destined to depart not too long ago. It would also, of course, help the Rams take a needed step forward on offense in general and the ground game in particular. Remaining healthy and productive would boost his free agent value as well, and leave the team with an interesting decision regarding his future. Returnees Kyren Williams and Ronnie Rivers are also available at the RB spot for Los Angeles, and the team added further depth by selecting Zach Evans in the sixth round of the draft. Assuming he is in fact given a workhorse role, though, all eyes will no doubt be on Akers in 2023.