sIf you ask old school scouts what is required to field a championship contender, they will quickly tell you that it takes eight to twelve blue-chip players to compete for a title. This premise has been the standard for general managers around the league and I rely on it to help me identify the players to watch on game day.
With that in mind, let's identify the players to watch on the Cowboys' next opponent. Here's a quick report on the current blue-chip players for the Los Angeles Rams.
Matthew Stafford, QB
The Rams' QB1 has been struggling with turnovers since arriving in LA. After leading the NFL with 17 interceptions in 2021, Stafford is currently sitting atop the charts with six interceptions this season. Although he is a five-star player with A-plus arm talent, he is a gunslinger who is not afraid to test his luck with "hero" throws into tight coverage. That said, the streaky passer is capable of getting hot at any moment and a 400-yard game or spectacular comeback is always in the cards when No.9 is dealing from the pocket.
Cooper Kupp, WR
The NFL's top receiver has emerged as an unstoppable force as the Rams' WR1. Kupp is shattering records weekly as Matthew Stafford targets him early and often against any coverage. Despite being the focal point of every defensive game plan, the All-Pro wideout has topped the 90-yard mark in 22 of his last 25 games, including playoffs. Given his steady production against defenses designed to slow him down, it is nearly impossible to keep the Rams' No.1 receiver from touching the rock.
Cam Akers, RB
Do not let Akers' numbers fool you, the third-year pro is a dangerous offensive weapon for the Rams. The shifty runner can turn the corner on outside runs but is most effective at punishing defenders between the tackles. Although he has not produced a 100-yard game since his return from an Achilles injury, Akers is a threat to explode for a big game when he gets a hefty workload as the Rams' feature back.
Tyler Higbee, TE
The Rams' second-leading receiver is a dependable chain mover with sticky hands and wideout-like route-running skills. Higbee will not threaten the middle of the field as a vertical but he is Stafford's top target in key moments when No.10 is covered. Considering the one-dimensional nature of the Rams' passing game, Higbee has emerged as a key contributor this season.
Aaron Donald, DT
The scariest defender in football is capable of taking over the game at any moment. Donald is a rare find as a pass-rushing defensive tackle with elite run-blocking skills and a non-stop motor. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year wreaks havoc between the tackles with his relentless approach and nasty attitude. If No.99 is not double-teamed on every play, there is a good chance the public address announcer will repeat his name over and over during a sack party that confirms his status as the top player in the league.
Jalen Ramsey, DB
The NFL's premier shutdown corner is still at the top of his game despite a few mistakes and miscues marring his play. As the "Star" in the Rams' defense, Ramsey is a combination safety-cornerback with the potential to align inside or outside based on need or matchup. With the all-star defender also displaying top-notch running-stopping skills and playmaking ability near the line of scrimmage, Ramsey is the total package at the position and quarterbacks must be aware of his whereabouts at all times.
Bobby Wagner, LB
The veteran defender continues to thrive as a tackling machine in the middle of the Rams' defense. Wagner's instincts, awareness, range, and tackling skills enable him to control the action from numbers to numbers. Although he has lost a step, the veteran plays faster than others at the position due to his ability to feel and flow to the ball based on hunches and educated guesses.