Jake Funk

Don Wassall

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 30, 2004
Messages
30,410
Location
Pennsylvania
Nice article on Jake. The article has a two minute video that's well worth watching.

Jake Funk's Rare Instincts and Athleticism Caught the Eye of Rams Scouts

by Cameron DaSilva

The initial reaction to the Los Angeles Rams selecting running back Jake Funk in the seventh round wasn’t overly positive. Fans questioned why a team with Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson would draft another running back before adding offensive line help, and understandably so.

But Funk would’ve been drafted earlier if not for injuries that limited him to only five games played in 2018 and 2019 combined. He’s a special athlete with great explosiveness, vision and speed, and someone who loves playing special teams.

On the latest episode of the Rams’ “Inside the Draft” series, scouts and talent evaluators in L.A. shared their thoughts on Funk, highlighting his instincts and athleticism as reasons to be excited about him.

“When we got our hands on some data from a GPS standpoint, another guy that stood out right away with just the unexpected, ‘Hey, this guy’s got 10-plus plays at 20-plus miles an hour,” Jake Temme, manager of data and analytics said.

Taylor Morton, the Rams’ senior personnel advisor, gave Funk an instincts grade that was as high as any other running back in the entire 2021 draft class, and “maybe of the past couple of years.

Funk averaged 7.2 yards per carry and scored 10 touchdowns on only 135 attempts in college. He also returned 13 kickoffs for 237 yards and played every phase of special teams.

As a seventh-round pick, Funk still has to earn a roster spot, but he’ll have a chance to contribute on offense and special teams with his skill set. He has 4.43 speed, benched 225 pounds 22 times and has a 38-inch vertical. Athleticism isn’t a question with Funk. It’s whether he can stay on the field, which the Rams certainly hope he can do.

https://theramswire.usatoday.com/2021/05/24/rams-nfl-draft-jake-funk-scouts-2021-rookie/
 

Bucky

Hall of Famer
Joined
Jul 20, 2018
Messages
9,156
Let's go Funk! Awesome he got drafted, I believe Rams will be happy with the production they get from their 7th Rd pick!
 

icsept

Master
Joined
Oct 12, 2008
Messages
3,551
Location
Oklahoma
Jake had a good interview on The Jim Rome Show last week. I’m not sure why Rome would interview a 7th round draft pick. They discussed the impressive athletic lineage in Jake’s family. And, his record breaking high school career. Then the million dollar question about why he was only recruited by mid-majors, Ivy League, and service academies. I can’t remember how through some circumstance he finally got the Maryland offer and jumped on it.

All in all, he sounds like he has everything mentally and physically to make a run at overcoming the caste system. McVay has the credentials and reputation as an offensive guru that he can get away with playing a White running back. So, the Rams were a good landing spot. It will still take a long series of fortunate events for Funk to make it.
 

Warhawk_46

Master
Joined
Jun 4, 2020
Messages
2,076
I’m optimistic about his chances of carving out a solid role in the NFL. The fact he is getting some air time is huge. His athleticism cannot be denied; he has sure hands and plays ST well. He will carve an early role as a 3rd-down back and who knows what happens? Backs get hurt and next man up is the mantra. I think he is too talented to not be an injury or two away from meaningful carries.
 

Don Wassall

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 30, 2004
Messages
30,410
Location
Pennsylvania
Jake's highlights from last season. Let's hope he's treated fairly by the Rams:

 

white lightning

Hall of Famer
Joined
Oct 16, 2004
Messages
20,818
I've said it before and I will say it again. We are looking at Luke Staley 2.0 but he may be even more talented if that's possible. Staley won the Doak Walker Award as the nations top rb in college football. Injuries crushed
Luke Staley and I'm hoping Funk will have better luck. The kid has suffered so much in college. Let's hope he can keep his body together because if he does he is amazing. Starter potential but I just want to see him play
early and often!
 

Don Wassall

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 30, 2004
Messages
30,410
Location
Pennsylvania
It took injuries to five running backs for Peyton Hillis to get an opportunity with the Broncos in 2008, and even after he kicked ass he was placed in Josh McDaniels' "doghouse" the following season before to his ever-lasting credit Eric Mangini let Hillis loose in 2010 with the Browns. And we all know how outstanding Hillis was when given an opportunity, including being the Madden poster winner for 2011.

With the Rams, it will only take Darrell Henderson, a disappointment thus far, being injured for Funk to maybe be the Rams' third down back as a rookie. Even if that doesn't happen I'm hoping for Jake to get some touches other than on special teams in '21 and build from there. The Rams are one of the few teams who don't automatically screw White players so Jake's future is bright.
 

Don Wassall

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 30, 2004
Messages
30,410
Location
Pennsylvania
Jake Funk: New Opportunity Opens up for Larger Role as Rookie for L.A. Rams

by Jeff Ermann

It looks like Jake Funk might be playing more than expected in his first year in the NFL. L.A. Rams starting running Cam Akers suffered a season-ending injury, creating a huge vacancy in the team's backfield, where the rookie could earn an increasing role.

Via 247Sports' Robbie Weinstein:

"The Los Angeles Rams have reportedly suffered a massive blow a week before training camp opens: Second-year running back Cam Akers suffered a torn Achilles while training, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, and will presumably miss the entire 2021 season. Now coach Sean McVay must find another top option in the backfield with very little turnaround time.

There aren't a lot of proven commodities in the Rams backfield going forward. Akers figured to get the majority of carries after playing well down the stretch last season, and he was a clear candidate to break out in a big way thanks to natural improvement from his rookie to sophomore seasons."

Earlier in the day, before the Akers news had broken NFL Network's Nate Burleson picked Funk as his preseason player to watch:

"I have a guy that's a little off the radar, but it's someone that we fell in love with, and he's playing with the Los Angeles Rams ... We want the Funk," he said. "He said he's gonna do it all. And that's the thing about preseason. You have to do it all. You have to be a guy that can play running back and then of course special teams."

He didn't know at that point that Akers, the Rams second-round pick last year, won't be playing at all.

"Here's the thing about preseason. Some of the starters might play a little bit. Some might not even touch the field. But the guys who were drafted late, those are gonna be the guys that play four quarters, that will be running around, flying around, and if you listen to anything that Jake Funk said on this show, he is gonna give everything that he's got. If we do a fantasy draft this year where we pick a guy who's gonna do his thing through course of the preseason, I'm going with Jake Funk, 100 percent. Watch out for this guy. He's gonna have an impact not just during the preseason, I will predict on special teams, but also a little bit for running back, during the season."

Funk, an unheralded veteran who suffered two torn ACLs and wasn't on the NFL radar before last year, broke out as a senior. After a strong pro day and impressive interviews, the Rams picked him in the seventh round, punctuating a Cinderella story. Despite setting the single-season state record with 57 touchdowns as a senior at Damascus High (Md.), he was rated the No. 90 running back and No. 1,421 player -- and the No. 35 player in Maryland -- in the 2016 class.

"Everybody said that they'd have to take a chance on me to play me at running back ... I've been called a fullback, I've been called a strong safety, I've been called a linebacker, for obvious reasons," he sad, referring to being a white running back.

What's the next big story at Maryland? IMS subscribers always know first. Join now HERE and save 30% on the first year of your annual pass today!

After being overshadowed by future NFL backs Ty Johnson. Anthony McFarland and Javon Leake, he took the starting job as a senior and sprinted with it, ranking second in the country with 8.6 yards per carry and scoring four touchdowns in five games. His 221-yard performance against Minnesota caught the Rams' attention. Via the Rams official site:

"After I watched that game, I saw it all," said Rams Senior Personnel Adviser Taylor Morton, who gave Funk the highest instincts grade of any running back in this year's draft. "I saw him as a runner, in terms of the instincts, the quickness, the speed, the toughness. Being able to catch the football. Everything we grade, I saw in that game."

The buzz began to build about him as a versatile back and special teams ace as the Draft neared, and the Rams staff has praised him since his arrival. With Akers out, he's got a chance to make more noise.

https://247sports.com/college/maryl...-larger-role-as-rookie-for-LA-Rams-168012122/

"You just have to be excited to make plays. Like, football is about making game-changing plays no matter when you're on the field. If you can run down on a kickoff, pin somebody inside the 20, create a big hit that gets the defense fired up, ready to go, it helps the team win. It's all about the team, so for me that's just been my core where it's like, I'm gonna do whatever it takes to help our team win, and if that's being a cover guy on special teams and going down there and getting a tackle or a big hit inside the 20," Funk said in April.

"I'm going to do," he said. "If that's a contributing role on offense, I'm going to do that, whether that's first, second-down back. third-down back, doesn't matter. Whatever opportunities you get on the field, you have to be able to take advantage and be that ballplayer that goes out and just makes a play when the team needs it."
 

white lightning

Hall of Famer
Joined
Oct 16, 2004
Messages
20,818
Play that Funky Music White Boy! We want the Funk.

This is great news and the kid has talent and athletecism equal or better than most current running backs in the NFL. Jake Funk
can not only make the team. He can become a star. It's just a matter of if they will give him enough of a chance.

I still am so angry over what the Bears did to another promising young white running back!
 

Red Raider

Mentor
Joined
Jul 23, 2017
Messages
1,702
Play that Funky Music White Boy! We want the Funk.

This is great news and the kid has talent and athletecism equal or better than most current running backs in the NFL. Jake Funk
can not only make the team. He can become a star. It's just a matter of if they will give him enough of a chance.

I still am so angry over what the Bears did to another promising young white running back!
Yeah Nall could’ve been (and still can be) a monster at tailback. The one thing I’m grateful for though is that Nall is still in the league 4 years later.

I can’t wait to see Jake Funk play, I expect some big plays in the preseason! I think he could become RB2 for the Rams if they don’t bring in a veteran. There’s no reason why he can’t beat out the other no-names on the roster.
 

jacque

Guru
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Messages
335
It’s hard for me to not get overly excited for Jake Funk because a lot of things are falling into place to potentially get him splitting a healthy amount of carries or even starting for the rams…

Rams fans and even bias analysts really like Funk, he’s very popular on Twitter, which I find odd. Maybe it’s his quirky name.

I know exactly why WE love funk, but I’m just surprised at the average nfl Twitter fans excitement for him.
 

Leonardfan

Hall of Famer
Joined
Jul 30, 2006
Messages
23,023
Hoping nothing but the best for Funk but there is always someone who tries to use their influence to get whom they want the Rams to get. This time it's Eric Dickerson. He wants the Rams to resign Todd Gurley.
https://www.nfl.com/news/eric-dickerson-rams-sign-todd-gurley-no-brainer

Gurley was used up and spit out of the league quickly - Jeff Fisher overused him early in his career on bad Rams teams. It’s hard to believe Gurley who was viewed as the the best RB a couple of years ago is now a shell of his former self and probably washed up at 27 years old. Not trying to knock Gurley who was the best RB in the league in 2017-2018 and still productive in 2019. Dickerson is a moron though. Teams re-uniting with franchise players they have let go seems to never happen.

Funk certainly fits the profile of an explosive player though and can certainly make an impact if given a fair shot.
 

Red Raider

Mentor
Joined
Jul 23, 2017
Messages
1,702
I think that people like Funk’s attitude and his story, it would be pretty hard to root against him no matter what. And usually those things aren’t enough but when they watch his tape it’s easy to see he has all the abilities which is why I think he gets mostly positive buzz. I said it before the draft but he sticks out to me more than any other rookie this year specifically because he has all the traits to be a successful player for a long time and I think a lot of other people see that as well. All of us here know he has those abilities, I can’t wait to see how he does in the preseason in a few weeks. He should get plenty of opportunities to earn a solid role during the season. I’m gonna guess right now that he starts at least 1 game this year.
 

white lightning

Hall of Famer
Joined
Oct 16, 2004
Messages
20,818
I agree Red Raider. He has it all. The total package in what any team would want in a running back that is color blind. His only knock is the
injuries but that's another reason he was drafted so low. If Funk can stay healthy, he will be a star if given the playing time! :)
 

Don Wassall

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 30, 2004
Messages
30,410
Location
Pennsylvania
Jake funk spotted running with first team at practice.

That kind of thing happens often early on in training camps. Let's not confuse it with thinking he's in the hunt to be the regular season starter. What he has, thanks to Akers' injury, is a much better chance to be more than just a special teamer or practice squader in his rookie season. He isn't going to leapfrog Darrell Henderson unless Henderson gets hurt, and if that happens the Rams will sign a veteran RB "off the street." In fact, don't be surprised if they do that anyway.

We were happy for Jake's landing spot even before Akers was hurt, but let's not overdo it this early. He's probably better off anyway gradually getting playing time as the season goes on and showing off his talent, setting the plate for a bigger role as time goes on. I'd like to see him eventually replace Henderson as the third down back and maybe more as their skill sets are similar, with Jake the potential better all-around talent. Jake ideally could be the Rams' Rex Burkhead, but hopefully with a lot fewer injury issues.
 

white lightning

Hall of Famer
Joined
Oct 16, 2004
Messages
20,818
Nice article that actually says he is an explosive rb that has a good chance of being the 2nd or 3rd down back. Rare compliments for a white running back.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nf...ance-to-step-up-with-cam-akers-out/ar-AAMzTDi
AAKX8id.img
 

Bucky

Hall of Famer
Joined
Jul 20, 2018
Messages
9,156
Things are lining up for Funk! Just has to stay healthy..
 

Don Wassall

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 30, 2004
Messages
30,410
Location
Pennsylvania
The Rams continuing not to sign a free agent RB is the best scenario for Jake to get playing time as a rookie. I can't see Darrell Henderson holding up as their main RB, so fingers crossed:

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports the Rams appear "all in" on RB Darrell Henderson.
Henderson continues working as the team's lead back after Cam Akers' season-ending Achilles injury. Rams head coach Sean McVay has expressed some concern about Henderson's injury history, which includes nicks and bumps but nothing catastrophic. McVay has pledged not to play Henderson at all this preseason. Fowler urged fantasy managers to "remember the name" Jake Funk, a seventh-round backup running back who has earned training camp reps with "his quick understanding of the offense and open-field vision." Funk and RB Xavier Jones would likely split carries if Henderson were to miss time in 2021.
 

jacque

Guru
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Messages
335
If I remember correctly the Rams do good job at splitting carries, so maybe we can expect Funk to get a few early
 

white lightning

Hall of Famer
Joined
Oct 16, 2004
Messages
20,818
I'm excited to see Funk in his debut. I hope he can get at least 5 to 10 carries since it's a short preseason. Let's see what the kid can do!
 
Top