The dust has settled on the 2013 NFL Draft and the undrafted free agent smash and grab that follows. Teams can now take a much earned rest before minicamps start up next week. We here at Turf Show Times never rest, so let's take an early survey of the St. Louis Rams depth chart for the season ahead.
(The UDFA additions are not official yet, so I've left them off the list. At this point, all of them figure to have a long road to get to the final 53 man roster).
No mysteries here. Bradford has an undisputed claim to the top of the depth chart. The Rams now have a front office that sees the value of investing in players for the QB to work with, and the fourth-year signal caller has more answers than questions on the offensive line and at wide receiver and tight end than ever before.
Davis usurped Clemens as the backup per a Jeff Fisher announcement at the Combine, a story first reported from the scene by Turf Show Times. Clemens wasn't on the roster at that time, but Fisher said that even if he were, Davis was the No. 2.
I'll be interested to see how Brian Schottenheimer uses Kendricks this season. As a pass catcher, he's slightly above average, but he's one hell of a blocker. That makes for some interesting combinations now that the Rams have a well-paid, pure pass catcher in Cook. Kendricks could be a real threat in the red zone, and a nice matchup problem for defenses now that the roster has some other weapons.
McNeil is the blocking specialist, and the other two will get some looks in camp. The UDFA class could potentially produce a player to replace one of those three.
Now things are getting much tougher to predict. Right now, I'll put Richardson in the top spot given his role last season compared to Pead. I think the direction the Rams will ultimately go features Stacy and Pead as sort of a 1-2 split, maybe something like 60-40 percent in Stacy's favor.
The bottom of the depth chart here hinges on a guy's potential and his role on special teams. With Stacy on the roster, it doesn't bode well for Ganaway's chances to stick around.
And I've got no idea here. Fortunately, the order is much less relevant because the offense will be mixing up so many different sets. I'll venture a guess that Austin and Givens finish the season with the most snaps at receiver thanks to the tight end situation. Quick or Pettis, whichever one can show a little more development, could easily be in the mix too ... and should be, especially Quick.
Don't rule out Bailey. His route running might put him over the top as the kind of possession receiver the Rams need.
You could probably make the case to have Chris Williams on the list at tackle too. The top two tackles are set, and give the Rams the best pair of bookends they've had in a long, long time. Barksdale made two starts last season at left tackle, against Green Bay and New England. Nsekhe played a total of eight snaps. The Rams feel like both players, ages 25 and 27 respectively, can be reliable backups. It still looks like an area of need to me. Williams has experience at tackle in the NFL, and Barrett Jones played on the outside at Alabama.
The depth here is much better, in my opinion. Watkins briefly saw time as a starter before being injured in practice between Week 1 and 2. Fisher has been effusive in his praise for Watkins too. Smith made six starts amid last year's injury epidemic on both sides of the center. Williams is a former first-round pick by the Chicago Bears who the Rams picked up during the season. All three of those guys figure to compete for the starting guard job(s), and the rookie Jones will be in the mix too.
Dahl is the question mark here. Fisher said after the draft that there would be competition at both guard spots. He's also recovering from a torn biceps that could put him on the shelf, and his $4 million salary could be a target should the Rams need to do some cap shuffling. I still think he's the most likely starter at right guard in Week 1. Dahl was the Rams' best lineman last year. Either way, this should be one of the more interesting camp battles.
Wells was last year's big free agent addition on offense. He got hurt in the season opener, and didn't return until Week 12, starting the last six games of the season. Wells had knee surgery again in January, and won't be ready until training camp. Robert Turner filled in capably, but the addition of Jones really improves the situation given Wells' injury history. I liked Tim Barnes when he came out of Mizzou in 2011, and the Rams liked him enough to tender him an exclusive rights deal.