The St. Louis Rams have no problem starting or playing players that weren't drafted high. So it wasn't much of a surprise when the Rams named Rodney McLeod as a starter in 2013. And as you can guess it wasn't an easy road that McLeod traveled to become a starter.
McLeod didn't get to hear his name called during the draft in 2012, but as an undrafted free agent he decided to join the Rams. Joining the Rams was a good decision for McLeod since this allowed him to make the final 53 man roster in 2012, which is great since making a team as a UDFA is always a longshot. In his rookie season, McLeod was only relied upon to play special teams and he played that role pretty well.
Then in 2013, McLeod had a chance to play for a starting position. He won the battle against the penciled in starter - the often injured Darian Stewart who ended up getting hurt during the competition. McLeod eventually became the starter for the season and ended the season with 79 tackles and 2 interceptions.
McLeod should be the starter this season at safety. There's really no experience at safety and the only challenge that comes to mind is rookie Maurice Alexander. He's more of an impressive project at the moment than a starter.
If he's going to lose his position on the depth chart it's going to be because of injury.
I'm not the biggest believer in McLeod as a safety. He is the best safety on the roster right now, so I expect him to start. But, he didn't really make an impact during the season as a safety. I would go as far as to say that McLeod played nickel last season better than safety.
He is an important player on the Rams roster because of his versatility and his experience as a starter, but it's hard to expect him to be really good. I think he will be a stopgap starter this season while the Rams patch up their safety position.
Will McLeod be on the Rams roster in 2014?
Yes, he will make the team this year. The question is will one of the young rookies take his starting spot? It could happen, McLeod was far from good last season. He does offer the Rams some flexibility since he played safety and nickel back last season.
The Rams currently have projects at safety so it wouldn't be a surprise if McLeod starts this season and the other young safeties play sparingly. McLeod will have to improve on last years season if he is going to stay a starter this season, and stay on the team in 2015.