Will Rams throw much to tight ends?

March, 29, 2011
3/29/11
3:21
PM ET
The item on NFC West tight ends not named Vernon Davis pointed to the St. Louis Rams' Mike Hoomanawanui and Fendi Onobun as prospects to watch.

One question: To what extent will the Rams utilize tight ends in the passing game under new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels?

As the chart shows, McDaniels' teams haven't featured tight ends as receivers much. I've focused on McDaniels' teams since 2005, the year he began calling plays for New England. None has caught more than 49 passes for 643 yards during a season.

"That position doesn’t catch passes in that offense," Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said. "The guy who is strange for them is Fendi Onobun. He has some athletic upside and might be intriguing, but he will get short end of the stick with McDaniels onboard."

McDaniels inherited most of the Rams' offensive staff. He could wind up adapting his approach some. But coordinators tend to stay within their comfort zones. Hoomanawanui and Onobun, while promising, are not established enough for the Rams to change their system significantly.

Hoomanawanui appears versatile enough to fit in just about any offense, but he might catch more passes in another system. The Rams completed 133 passes to tight ends in two seasons with Pat Shurmur as offensive coordinator. That figure was 86 for the Bronco, counting the final four games of the 2010 season, after Denver had fired McDaniels.

The Rams could place greater value on blocking tight ends. One potential candidate, Daniel Graham, played for McDaniels in New England and Denver. He's without a contract for 2011 and could make sense as a blocking tight end for the Rams and Seattle Seahawks. Seattle's new assistant head coach/offensive line, Tom Cable, was at Colorado when Graham played there.

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