Cam Akers' second NFL season might be over before it even starts for the Los Angeles Rams.
According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, Akers suffered a torn Achilles tendon. The team confirmed the report Tuesday. Akers likely will miss the entire 2021 season.
The report notes that Akers suffered the injury while training. It begs the question: Where was Akers training?
If it happened at the Rams' facility, there might not be an issue beyond getting him healthy for the 2022 season. As we saw with former Broncos offensive lineman Ja'Wuan Jones, who suffered an Achilles injury away from the facility, NFL teams can take a cold, hard stance on the matter.
Akers, the 52nd overall pick in the 2020 draft, had a solid rookie season, rushing 145 times for 625 yards and two TDs, and catching 11 passes for 123 yards and another score in his 13 games (five starts).
After a rib injury slowed him early in the season and an ankle injury plagued him late in the year, Akers broke out with two big playoff appearances. In the Rams' 30-20 win at Seattle, he ran for 131 yards and a score and caught two passes for 45 yards. In the loss the next week at the Green Bay Packers, Akers totaled 90 rush yards and a TD on 18 carries.
Akers was one of our 10 second-year breakout candidates. Now it appears that likely won't happen this season.
Who will replace Akers?
Akers was pegged as the lead back a year after the Rams experimented with a ride-the-hot-hand approach at times.
Now the picture has dramatically changed.
Left in tow: third-year back Darrell Henderson, Xavier Jones, Raymond Calais and rookie Jake Funk.
Henderson is the most likely to handle lead duties now. He produced at a better rate last season than Akers, rushing 138 times for 624 yards and five TDs, also catching 16 passes for 159 yards and a score. Henderson also was plagued by hamstring, thigh and ankle injuries in 2020, finishing the year on injured reserve.
Jones made the roster last season as an undrafted free agent out of SMU but never played a snap on offense and had only one kick return for 4 yards.
Calais was a Bucs seventh-round pick a year ago whom the Rams signed and played strictly on special teams in his four games. He ran back seven kickoffs for 152 yards as a rookie.
Jones ran for 3,434 yards and 45 TDs in college. Calais averaged 7.8 yards a carry at Louisiana. Neither are tested in the NFL. Funk also was highly productive at times — 7.2 yards per carry, 13 TDs on 172 college touches at Maryland — but was also beset by myriad injuries.
Might the Rams need to sign a veteran? It's possible.
Among the top free agents left unsigned include former Rams running back Todd Gurley, Le'Veon Bell, Duke Johnson, LeSean McCoy, T.J. Yeldon, Adrian Peterson and others.
Gurley's connection to the Rams make him an obvious candidate to return, although he has been connected to the Ravens for a bit now. He ran for 678 yards and nine TDs with the Falcons last season and won't turn 27 until August. Injuries have plagued Gurley for years now, dating back to college.
Bell also could be an option after rushing for 328 yards and four scores with the Jets and Chiefs last season.
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