The deadline for NFL roster cuts has come and gone, and the St. Louis Rams have settled on a 53-man roster. Most likely, changes are still in store for that roster. Keep an eye on the waiver wire over the next few days as there should be plenty of activity as teams sort through the more than 700 players released yesterday. Another task on the Rams to-do list is setting up the practice squad. Let's take an educated guess at what that group might look like, remember that it too could include a player or two that wasn't on the 80-man roster a week ago.
First, let's review the eligibility requirements for the 8-man NFL practice squad.
- Have no prior Accrued Seasons in the NFL (An accrued season is six or more games on the active roster);
- Have one prior Accrued Season in which the player was on the 45-man active roster for no more than 8 games; and,
- Have been on the practice squad with a particular team no more than 2 prior seasons unless the team never had their active roster go below 53 players during the two years the player served on the practice squad. If that is the case, the player is eligible for a third practice squad season.
The accrued season rules make it a little confusing. Players on the practice squad also get a $5,200 per week salary. Before players can be signed to the practice squad, they have to clear waivers.
And which players might find themselves on the practice squad?
CB Marquis Johnson - I really liked what Johnson showed in the preseason. Remember, he had lots of playing time early on because of injuries to the players above him on the depth chart. He's a guy that other teams could very well poach from our practice squad.
WR Brandon McRae - McRae had a nice camp and preseason, and the receiver starved Rams have a track record of keeping WRs who know the system close at hand.
DT Ernest Reid - Again, another depth guy who has practiced in the system.
S Brett Johnson - This probably has more to do with Kevin Payne being on IR than anything else. Johnson is that kind of raw, athletic rookie that teams may want to keep close at hand.
LB Cardia Jackson - This is a guy that probably won't end up on the practice squad, but I think he has that potential.
WR Danario Alexander - Here's another raw talent signing for the practice squad, though his injury issues could just as easily cause the Rams to pass on that as well.
I think there are a few players currently on the 53-man roster that will end up on the practice squad. Offensive line is a position of note. The Rams kept just 8 offensive linemen and they'll surely need more depth than that. I think it's quite possible that they'll find a veteran depth player and move oT Renardo Foster to the practice squad. An even more reasonable prediction is RB Keith Toston to the practice squad if the Rams find another RB on the wiaver wire as they're widely expected to do. WR Dominique Curry could end up here as well if the Rams find a player on the wire.