The St. Louis Rams will open the season with Rodney McLeod as one of two starting safeties. GM Les Snead made the announcement sitting in the broadcast booth, talking about the importance of undrafted free agents.
Darian Stewart had the starting job when camp started. He's had it since the team decided not to re-sign Craig Dahl or Quintin Mikell, and losing out on free agent safety Louis Delmas in the spring. But a hamstring injury sidelined Stewart after just a few snaps in the team's second preseason game. McLeod took over, and has stayed there while Stewart is still dealing with the injury.
McLeod was an undrafted free agent addition for the Rams last season. He saw three snaps with the defense. The Virginia product gives the Rams more in coverage than Stewart did. Alongside rookie T.J. McDonald, the pair of safeties showed a nice ability to swap spots too.
Roster cuts are due Saturday. Teams have to trim 22 players for their final 53-man roster. Stewart's future is cloudy with his latest hamstring injury. The Rams gave him a mulligan with that same health issue last year. He barely played.
The safeties have played better than most would have predicted, overall, in camp and the preseason. Undrafted rookie Cody Davis showed well for himself in third and fourth quarters of exhibition play. However, it's an even more inexperienced group without Stewart, injured or cut. Matt Giordano, the most experienced of the bunch, has been sidelined for everything but a few days of camp.
Audio courtesy of @Daniel_Doelling