National Football League
What Blake Corum’s addition means for Kyren Williams, Rams’ rushing game
National Football League

What Blake Corum’s addition means for Kyren Williams, Rams’ rushing game

Updated May. 7, 2024 9:13 a.m. ET

When the Rams won the Super Bowl three seasons ago, they used a stable of running backs that included Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson Jr. and Sony Michel.

Coach Sean McVay appears to be taking a similar approach this season with the selection of Michigan product Blake Corum in the third round of the 2024 NFL Draft. The Rams also signed scatback Boston Scott in free agency. 

At 5-foot-8 and 205 pounds, Corum was the workhorse back helping to lead Michigan to the national championship last season. He set school records for rushing touchdowns in a season (27) and career (58). Corum finished with 24 runs of 20-plus yards during his final two seasons at Michigan. 

The Rams had just 43 runs of 10-plus yards in 2023, tied for No. 24 in the NFL. 


McVay says he sees similarities in the running styles of Corum and current Rams bell-cow back Kyren Williams, who ran for 1,144 rushing yards in 2023, earning a Pro Bowl nod. 

"There's a lot of traits that reminded me of Kyren Williams," McVay said. "Obviously, I love Kyren and he's been so important. Just the human being, but then also when you just look at the way he works at it, the production and the things that he was able to bring to our offense last year. 

"I think there's a lot of similarities. Kyren will put Blake under his arm and be a great mentor." 

The Rams averaged 120.3 rushing yards per game last season, good enough for No. 11 in the league. It may have been more, but Williams missed four games due to an ankle injury during the middle of the year. With Williams out, the Rams averaged 94.5 rushing yards per game and went 1-3 in those contests.

The addition of Corum will allow the Rams to protect Williams, so he doesn't wear down during the marathon of an NFL season, while also adding another playmaker for quarterback Matthew Stafford to lean on in the run game. 

Corum also provides a nifty back who can bring an added dimension to L.A.'s running game in short-yardage and goal-line situations. According to Next Gen Stats, the Rams had a 55% success rate on goal-line rushes last season, No. 16 in the league. They also had a 77% success rate on third and short rushes in 2023, good enough for No. 6 in the NFL.

According to Pro Football Focus, Corum converted 46 first downs in short-yardage situations while at Michigan and had a 73% first down/touchdown rate, both tops in his running back draft class. 

Corum played in a pro-style running offense that used a variety of man and zone blocking schemes, which should help him make an easy transition to McVay's offense, which has shifted to more man-blocking principles.

Former Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said Corum was the best running back he coached in college, comparing him to a back Harbaugh had with the San Francisco 49ers.

"He definitely has the license and the ability to be every bit as good as Frank Gore," Harbaugh said of Corum.

At the combine, Corum ran a 4.53-second 40-yard time and bench pressed 225 pounds a jaw-dropping 27 times. While he does not have the top-end speed of a home-run threat, Corum is elusive in short space, can consistently run through tackles and can contribute on third down in the passing game.

With the league switching to new kickoff rules, Corum also has an opportunity to impact the game as a returner. 

He said he had a good conversation with Rams running backs coach Ron Gould during the pre-draft process and that he looks forward to getting to Los Angeles to begin making the transition to the NFL.

"I've been training for OTAs ever since the combine stopped," Corum said. "All the NFL athletes I know told me the main thing is to just go in conditioned. So I was like, ‘OK, I'm going to condition the heck out of myself.'

"I feel really good going into OTAs. But the biggest transition is, my job is football now. … I'm going to put all my time in learning the playbook, getting to know my teammates, getting to know my coaches and really setting myself up for a successful rookie year." 

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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