Predicting (Way Too Early) the Rams Roster

Now that the draft is over, we football nerds are left searching for things to occupy our time, especially on a lazy Sunday such as this. Since the Cardinals game is over and the Blues game isn't until tomorrow, I'm left to overanalyze the draft until my brain hurts. One thing I always like to do after the draft and UDFAs is try to predict who does and doesn't make the cut on the 53-man roster this summer. This year is particularly interesting since so many rookies appear to have shots at a roster left porous by the cleansing that has taken place via our new regime. Admittedly, this is way too early and there will still be moves made, but hell, at least I'm not doing a 2013 mock (yet).

*=rookie, ?=yet-to-be-signed free agent

QB: Sam Bradford, Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis*
Pretty cut and dry here. The only variance will be whether or not they decide to keep 3 or not. Austin Davis is a real talented kid and could have easily been drafted, so I think he finds his way onto the roster.

RB/FB: Steven Jackson, Isaiah Pead*, Daryl Richardson*, Brit Miller (other possibilities: Chase Reynolds, ?)
Jackson and Pead are locks, and Miller seems to be as well. The 3rd RB spot will be interesting to see play out. I really feel like Richardson has the talent to get this job. It will likely be a training camp battle between him and Chase Reynolds unless the Rams reach out to a FA like Joseph Addai or Justin Forsett.

TE: Lance Kendricks, Michael Hoomanawanui, Matt Mulligan (other possibilities: DeAngelo Peterson*, Cory Harkey*) Kendricks is basically a lock, as his biggest issue is that he needs quality coaching, which he now has. Hooma probably the same. His issue is health, but likely won't be a casualty because of this, since there just aren't really any alternatives. I'm not crazy about Matt Mulligan, but it's inevitable that we will have a blocking TE, and unless Cory Harkey beats him out, Mulligan is all there is. Peterson has the potential to make the squad if he can learn to improve his hands, I'm just not sure who he displaces. If the team wants to keep 4 TEs, he's likely in.

WR: Danny Amendola, Brian Quick*, Steve Smith, Greg Salas, Chris Givens*, Austin Pettis, Dominique Curry (other possibilities: Danario Alexander) These top 6 are pretty well set, unless Pettis sucks it up and lets DX beat him in camp. They may or may not keep Curry as ST help. The lack of LB depth makes this situation more likely.

OL: Rodger Saffold, Harvey Dahl, Scott Wells, Jason Smith, Rokevious Watkins, Robert Turner, Quinn Ojinnaka, ? (other possibilities: Tim Barnes, Joe Long*) This area is rather sketchy. Saffold, Dahl, Wells, and Watkins are locks, and Turner is very likely to make it as a backup. The fact that Jason Smith restructured his contract means he'll likely get a shot, whether it's at tackle or guard. Quinn Ojinnaka probably sticks around as a backup due to his versatility, but he will face competition from Tim Barnes and UDFA Joe Long. I imagine that the FO will seek out a FA OL, probably an aging starter to hold the fort until next year when they can work on it via the draft. Marcus McNeill and Chad Clifton are tackle options, and they make look to Jake Scott or Vernon Carey. They may also resign Adam Goldberg as insurance.

DL: Chris Long, Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers*, Kendall Langford, William Hayes, Eugene Sims, Trevor Laws, Dorell Scott, Jermelle Cudjo (other possibilities: Matt Conrath*, ?) This group is pretty solid. The 4 starters are set, as are most of the backups. Hayes will stick, as will Laws. Sims should as well. The 4th DT will probably be Scott, unless Cudjo or UDFA Matt Conrath beats him out. I don't know that they will look to a 9th DL, but if they do, it will probably be Cudjo, Conrath or a FA depth DL like Albert Haynesworth, Marcus Thomas, or Quentin Groves.

LB: James Laurinaitis, Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Josh Hull, Aaron Brown*, ?, Sammy Brown*, Alex Hoffman-Ellis* (other possibilities: more than one ?) This group will be the most competitive. Laurinaitis is obviously a lock. Dunbar should be too, and after the way Fisher referenced Josh Hull's improvement this offseason, I'd be surprised to see him not make it. This team will almost definitely sign another LB, probably and older stop-gap solution until next year. E.J. Henderson, Ernie Sims, Rocky McIntosh, and Xavier Adibi could get looks. The team may even sign multiple LBs for depth, depending on the performance of the UDFAs. Due to the lack of depth, Aaron Brown will very likely make the cut, and if only one LB is signed, UDFAs Sammy Brown and Alex Hoffman-Ellis have legitimate shots to make the club as Special Teamers.

DB: Cortland Finnegan, Bradley Fletcher, Janoris Jenkins*, Trumaine Johnson*, Jerome Murphy, Josh Gordy, Quintin Mikell, Craig Dahl, Darian Stewart (other possibilities: Marquis Johnson, ?) The CB group has depth the likes of which we haven't seen in a good while. Mikell is locked in as a starter, and Dahl and Stewart will be battling it out for the other spot unless Fisher decides to move Trumaine or Murphy to S. Josh Gordy likely played his way onto the team after last year, but a healthy Marquis Johnson could challenge him. If the FO wants more at S, it could do the same as I mentioned it may at LB and OL: sign an older starter to close the gap until next offseason. Candidates for this might be O.J Atogwe, Yeremiah Bell, or Jim Leonhard.

K: Greg Zuerlien*
This one is set.

P: Johnny Hekker (other possibilities: ?)
Johnny Hekker is the punter for now. Honestly, I think we could do better. A FA is a possibility. Matt McBriar is still out there, I think.

LS: Jake McQuaide
Can't think of anything very interesting to say about this. It is what it is.

That's all for now, feel free to discuss your tweaks and variations in the comments.

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