Jake Funk is bursting up the Rams' depth chart as quickly as he used to burst through a hole running at Maryland Stadium.
When Funk fell into the Rams' laps in the seventh round of the NFL draft, his potential to excel at the next level gave coach Sean McVay and company no choice but to select him with the 233rd pick despite an already crowded running back room.
Funk has broken through in his first two preseason games to propel himself to as high as third on Los Angeles' depth chart behind starter Darrell Henderson Jr. and Xavier Jones. With Cam Akers, the Rams' leading rusher last season, suffering a torn Achilles last month and reserve back Raymond Calais now in need of foot surgery, Funk has made the most of a golden opportunity.
After rushing for 12 yards on five carries in his preseason debut, Funk followed up with a game-high 56 yards on only seven carries in the Rams' loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday night.
Twelve of those yards came on this hard-nosed run.
Using nice vision and patience at the line of scrimmage, Funk burst to the first-down marker in the first quarter and barreled over Raiders cornerback Keisean Nixon in the process. Funk showed that strength all throughout his stellar senior season at Maryland and McVay praised his fourth-and-one punch in his debut last week against the Chargers.
Seven days later and McVay spoke even more highly of Funk.
“I saw a lot from Funk. I thought he did a good job,” McVay told reporters. “I thought Xavier (Jones) made a couple plays. You saw him catch a couple of passes and be able to create a little bit. But I really felt Funk tonight. I thought he did a great job being able to create some explosive runs, one from the dot, one from the offset gun. But, it was good to see those guys make plays.”
Funk's future appears to be bright in LA. Taking the first and second-down reps in the first half while Jones took third downs is a good sign the seventh-rounder appears to have cemented himself on the final 53-man roster and maybe even as a viable contributor.