So last time in the first look at the potential 53-man roster, we started with the position totals from the 2013 final cut as a starting point. We'll be referencing that often as we near the major dates regarding roster cuts of which there are two:
- August 26 - Teams have to reduce rosters to 75 active players
- August 30 - Teams have to reduce rosters to 53 active players (also have to assign injured players into the formal NFL classifications, i.e. Physically Unable to Perform reserve list)
So a week from tomorrow, we'll hit that first deadline. That puts added emphasis on Saturday's upcoming game in Cleveland.
For now, let's circle back to the positions and look at how they're shaping up for the 53-man final roster:
We're still looking at Sam Bradford and Shaun Hill as the automatics here. I don't see anything from the preseason changing that. The only real question is if Garrett Gilbert, who's still getting the looks at QB3, or Austin Davis as the longshot are able to make the cut. Remember, the 2012 roster only had two quarterbacks on it, so both Gilbert & Davis would have to buck history to make it here.
Isaiah Pead's injury will keep him out for the entirety of the 2014 season. That, at least theoretically, opens the window for another back to slide into the final roster. Pead was often a fifth RB on the books last year to join Zac Stacy, Benny Cunningham, special teamer Chase Reynolds and the departed Daryl Richardson. So with Tre Mason taking one of those spots, Trey Watts would be the only contender fighting for a fifth spot. It's unlikely, but he's gonna throw all of his chips on the table against the Browns.
Not a lot of positives from Saturday for the depth here. Neither Emory Blake nor Austin Franklin, the popular choices behind the top six, made the box score against Green Bay. T.J. Moe, Justin Veltung and Jordan Harris are playing to develop a career elsewhere.
FINALLY, A ROSTER BATTLE! Justice Cunningham continues to impress in blocking while Alex Bayer is showing off some legitimate chops in the passing game. Lance Kendricks, Jared Cook and Cory Harkey are locks in the top three spots, so it's likely that one of the two makes the final roster. This is must watch fodder for the second half in Cleveland.
If Saturday was any indication, the Rams will only have three offensive linemen to start the season...seriously, that was bad. We're gonna need another week to see how the depth works against the Browns, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Rams bring in a veteran to work with this group.
Last time, I suggested the roster spot dilemma here was down to Michael Sam's attempt to make the team. I was wrong. Ethan Westbrooks was my MVP of the game against the Packers. The hope for both would be that the Rams go tight in other positions (QB/RB/WR, largely) to keep an extra DE on the roster.
When Daren Bates went down on Saturday, I wondered if that was going to open things up here. He seemed fine though, so he's back in his spot. That leaves only the LB6 slot that Philip Steward seems to have a leg up on the competition for.
The back end here is still tough to figure out. Janoris Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson and LaMarcus Joyner are locks. I still think Brandon McGee is. If the Rams go tight at CB and only keep five here (as they did last year), it's a battle between E.J. Gaines, Greg Reid, Marcus Roberson and Darren Woodard for the final spot. Your guess is as good as mine.
The Rams went with five safeties last year; that's key to keep in mind here since the trio of T.J. McDonald, Rodney McLeod and Maurice Alexander are the only locks here. That leaves Cody Davis, Matt Daniels and Christian Bryant left in the mix for those potential two spots...which of course the other bubble options are hoping becomes only one spot leaving another position to balloon on this year's roster.
The Browns are going to have a host of guys leaving everything on the field on Saturday...