May 23, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brandon Gibson (11) catches a ball during an OTA at ContinuityX Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE
The league's youngest team is turning to its reservoir of youthful talent to shore up its offensive line. Rokevious Watkins, the St. Louis Rams' fifth-round pick in this year's draft, will get the start on Sunday in the season opener against the Detroit Lions. Watkins' name is not the only surprise on the depth chart heading into this week's game against the Detroit Lions.
Watkins - Whether or not Watkins makes the start remains to be seen. Fisher preached caution on using his backup center, Robert Turner, as the starting guard because if something happens to him there, it leaves the team without a backup center. Watkins gets a little bit of a break in that Nick Fairley is starting the season with a two-game suspension thanks to his off-field incidents this summer. Ndamukong Suh will still be there, and likely requiring some double teaming, which means Watkins will be pairing up with Scott Wells to take on Suh or on an island of his own against the other defensive tackle.
Matthew Mulligan, TE - The Rams are listing Mulligan as their starting tight end over Lance Kendricks. No surprise there. In case you forgot, Jeff Fisher plans to run the football early and often, Mulligan is essentially a sixth lineman in that regard. Kendricks will see the field plenty, and in Brian Schottenheimer's offense, don't be surprised if he leads the team in receptions.
Danny Amendola, WR - No surprise here. Amendola figures to be the team's top receiver all season long. I'll be watching closely to see where he lines up. He was working on the outside regularly during the preseason, and Schottey has never been a slot-only guy for his receivers.
Brandon Gibson, WR - Gibson gets the starting nod over Steve Smith, though I suspect by the time you total snap counts it will be about even. I would really like to see Gibson put it all together this year, ironing out the inconsistencies in what should be a more stable offense.
Darian Stewart, S - Stewart barely touched the field during training camp, hindered by those pesky soft tissue injuries. You can expect a pretty heavy rotation here.
Rocky McIntosh, SLB - It looks like McIntosh beat out Mario Haggan for the starting job on the strong side. Either way, the Rams outside linebackers looked much better than they have in recent years. This was a real area of concern prior to training camp, so we'll see how the group plays in the regular season.