Rams Roster Preview: DT Matt Conrath

Scott Heavey

The Rams added 2 quality DTs this off-season. He's had his moments as a backup, but can Conrath improve enough to stay on the roster?

The Defensive Line has long been the strength of the Rams. Over the course of the 2014 off-season, the Rams doubled down on their already elite DL and made it the best, most absurdly talented unit in the NFL. With everyone excited about first round pick Aaron Donald and free agent Alex Carrington, where does incumbent backup Matt Conrath fit into the equation?

Roster Battle

Defensive tackle is arguably the best position in terms of depth on the defense, maybe the entire roster (although the running backs and defensive ends would like to argue that point). At the top of the depth chart, you have Michael Brockers, who will be the stud run defender who constantly eats 2 blockers on the offensive line. After Brockers, you have Kendall Langford and Aaron Donald, who will be 2A and 2B. Filling out the DT rotation is likely Alex Carrington... as long as he can prove that he is 100% after last seasons season-ending quadriceps injury. Throw into the mix that the Rams have the ability to adjust the DL on passing downs for a speed package of Robert Quinn, Chris Long, Aaron Donald, and William Hayes and it just doesn't bode well for Conrath.

Expectations

While he does lead the charge for the last spot in the DT rotation, Conrath will have to earn his keep. As a former Undrafted Free Agent, this is nothing new for him. However, the Rams are exponentially more talented than they were when he joined the team 3 years ago. The primary expectation of him at this point is to improve enough to maintain his previous role on the team as a fringe contributor.

Will he Make the Team?

I'd say there is a 40% shot Conrath makes the roster. He's the Rams best insurance policy against injury and has the size and talent to be a contributor in the NFL... just not on the Rams supremely talented DL. The question becomes whether the Rams value a 5th DT more than say another DB or Offensive Lineman. With so much flexibility along the DL, he's fighting an uphill battle.

The NFL's guidance on Practice Squad players is ambiguous at best, and by reading those rules, I'm not sure if Conrath would qualify or not. If he does, he could be a candidate there, otherwise he could be cut when the Rams trim from 75 to the final 53-man roster.

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