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Could UFL’s Jake Bates be the Rams’ solution at kicker?

The Los Angeles Rams technically have a kicker on their roster after signing Tanner Brown to a reserve/futures contract this offseason, but that doesn’t mean they’ve found their solution at the position. The Rams still need to add a more reliable kicker, whether that’s in the draft or free agency.

Up to this point, they’ve done nothing of note on special teams, which points to them selecting a kicker in this month’s draft. Even if they do draft a kicker, they should consider signing Jake Bates from the UFL, too.

Bates has been a revelation in the spring league this year. In two games, he’s already made field goals from 52, 62 and 64 yards. He’s a perfect 3-for-3 on field goal attempts, showing he has plenty of accuracy to go along with a powerful leg.

Bates has a fascinating backstory, too. Despite playing for both Texas State and Arkansas, he never attempted a single field goal in college. He was a kickoff specialist at both schools, which makes sense considering how far he can boot it.

He still landed an offseason opportunity with the Texans last year, signing as an undrafted rookie, but he was released in August – hardly a surprise with Ka’imi Fairbairn on the team. Even in the preseason, he didn’t kick a single field goal for Houston.

Because of his lack of opportunities in college and the pros, Bates hadn’t attempted a field goal in a game since high school. And even then, he only kicked a field goal once as a high schooler.

If his limited experience is concerning, consider the Cowboys found one of the best kickers in football when they signed Brandon Aubrey last year after two years in the USFL. He hadn’t played football until the Birmingham Stallions signed him in 2022, yet he went 36-for-38 as a rookie in the NFL last year, making each of his first 36 attempts to start his career.

The Cowboys showed kickers can be found anywhere, even if they’ve barely played the position. Like Aubrey, Bates is a former soccer player, so kicking is natural for him.

If the Rams don’t feel good about any of the available free agents, they should give Bates a shot. Players don’t make 62- and 64-yard field goals by accident, and Bates even made the 64-yarder twice because he was iced by the opponent the first time.

Oh, and it was the game-winner, too.

The Rams have nothing to lose when it comes to giving Bates a chance.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire