A gaggle of rookies will be on the field at Rams Park on Wednesday, kicking off the rookie portion of the St. Louis Rams training camp. Out there with the rookie will be third-year tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, looking to get an edge and get his career on track after tearing his ACL last season.
First, he has to earn a roster spot.
Hoomanawanui's career in St. Louis has come in fits and starts. As a rookie in 2010, he missed a total of eight games with a high ankle sprain. Not only does he need the practice, he needs every advantage he can get in a crowded competition for three or four tight jobs on the final roster. Being a player selected by the previous regime, it does not hurt to show the new coaches a little extra effort too.
Here is what Football Outsiders had to say about him in their 2012 Almanac:
"Illinois Mike" led the Rams in receiving during the 2010 preseason, but then promptly turned into "Injured Mike," missing 16 out of 32 games in his first two years. With 2011 secondround pick Lance Kendricks figuring to fill the Dustin Keller role in new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's system, Hoomanawanui will be relegated to the Matthew Mulligan role, which doesn't bode well for his receiving production. (2011 stats: 7-for-13, 83 yards, -25 DYAR, -35.4% DVOA)
Something else that does not bode well for Illinois Mike is that he is also competing against Mulligan for the Matthew Mulligan role.