St. Louis Rams 2013 depth chart: Where things stand heading into Week 2

Matt Sullivan

The Rams are nearing the halfway point of the preseason, and the depth chart is starting to take shape.

This week depth chart looks a lot like last week's depth chart. In fact, they're identical. The St. Louis Rams made no changes to the list ahead of this week's preseason game with the Packers. However, that is not a sign that things are completely frozen.

With the halfway point of the preseason only days away, let's take a look at some of the pressure points on the depth chart.

Here's our depth chart post from last week, which has the complete list of players.

Quarterback

The No. 2 job is unsettled right now. Fisher's rotating Kellen Clemens and Austin Davis. Clemens will take over for Bradford this week.

Left Guard

This is just about the only true open competition for a starting job on the roster right now. As noted Tuesday night, Shelley Smith and Chris Williams are neck and neck. Fisher's rotating each of them in with the starters. Smith gets the call to start this week, after Williams did against Cleveland.

Backup tackle

Rodger Saffold dislocated his shoulder, and will miss some time during the preseason. So the race is on for backup tackle. Joe Barksdale took over for Saffold, but Brandon Williams will get some reps with the starters too. Both of those guys are working on the right side. So what about Ty Nsehke? He was listed right behind Saffold on the last depth chart (Barksdale was listed as the No. 2 left tackle).

Keep your eye on who the first player manning the left side after Jake Long leaves the game.

Center

Barrett Jones. I'm really excited to see more of what this guy can do. He's still listed as the third center, which I expect to change by Aug. 31.

Running back

Our friends at Fan Interference on Radio 920 asked me this week if Isaiah Pead could end up somewhere else after the preseason ends. I told them I doubt it, and I still do. Pead's the most naturally talented back on the roster; he just has some kind of mental block preventing him from translating that.

I don't think the Rams give up on a second-round pick so soon. However, I'll be curious to see if his struggles last week get him bumped down the depth chart. Bennie Cunningham is running well lately, will he push for the third spot?

Wide receiver

Not much has really changed here. The two most interesting players to watch are Brian Quick and Stedman Bailey. Will they see more snaps with the starters? Austin and Givens have the top two spots nailed down. At some point Quick is going to surpass Austin Pettis, especially if Quick does more of what he did last week.

Tight end

Lance Kendricks is back now, and automatically slides back into the No. 2 tight end role. This is his second year in the offense, and his ability to catch and block make him a mainstay in 2-TE sets. It's the guys behind him I'm interested to watch. Mike McNeil and Corey Harkey are battling for that third spot on the roster. Can Phillip Lutzenkirchen sneak into the mix?

Defensive tackle

This is another spot that changes with a player coming off the PUP list. In this case, it's Jermelle Cudjo, a run stuffer who was the third defensive tackle last year. He will not get back into the action until closer to the regular season. Given his specialty, Cudjo's spot looks safe. However, you have to remember that he too was a training camp surprise as an undrafted free agent in 2010.

Linebacker

Will Witherspoon is most likely to take Jo-Lonn Dunbar's place while he serves his suspension. Spoon has the experience and familiarity with Fisher's defenses. That said, this is a prime opportunity for one of the younger guys to make a case for himself.

Jabara Williams managed to stick around. Can he turn his second chance into something? I'm especially interested to watch Ray Ray Armstrong. He has a lot of natural talent, but is still looking to put it all together.

Cornerback

Trumaine Johnson is expected to be the team's third corner, and in all likelihood he will be. But Johnson's been up and down through camp and one preseason game so far. This will only be his second season. If the downs outweigh the ups, it could open the door for Quinton Pointer or Brandon McGee to fill the void. Sorting out the bottom portion of the depth chart at cornerback is one of the more important, albeit least watched, races in camp this year.

Safety

The safeties struggled last week. Rookie T.J. McDonald missed some tackles that ended up costing the Rams against Cleveland. His spot should be plenty secure, and Fisher expressed his confidence in McDonald after the game.

I'm more interested to see if someone challenges Darian Stewart for the other starting safety spot. Stewart struggled badly in 2011, when he started 13 games. He led the league in missed tackles that year, and he barely saw the lineup last year, even with Craig Dahl's struggles. If veteran free agent Matt Giordano plays this week, he could push Stewart. Also keep an eye on Rodney McLeod, an undrafted rookie returning for his second season with the Rams. Can he make the jump from being just a special teams player?

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