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2015 Rams Roster Preview: DE Ethan Westbrooks Looks To Hold Off 2015 UDFAs

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Westbrooks beat out Michael Sam last year for the final DL roster spot. Can he hold off the new additions to the DL in the 2015 preseason?

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Ethan Westbrooks is, to me, one of the most intriguing players on the Rams roster. He is undoubtedly the low man of the totem pole on the DL. While he may be lacking the college pedigree and draft status of his fellow defensive linemen, don't go overlooking him.

This man is dedicated.

Roster Battle

Everyone knows about the Rams FIVE first rounders on the DL. Toss in William Hayes and Eugene Sims - who are good enough to be starters in their own right - and 7 DL spots are all but locked down for the 2015 Rams. Last year the Rams carried 9 DL, but most NFL teams only carry 8. I think that the flexibility of a lot of the Rams DL - Westbrooks included - combined with Gregg Williams propensity to utilize player versatility to create mismatches will lead to the Rams carrying 8 DL this season.

Newcomers to the Rams DL group include Martin Ifedi (Preview), Matt Longacre (Preview), Louis Trinca-Pasat (Preview), and Doug Worthington (Preview). But when push comes to shove, I see Trinca-Pasat as the primary competition for Westbrooks.

Westbrooks' ability to kick inside to DT for 'speed' packages gives him an edge in the versatility department over LTP, but the Rams aren't afraid of 'undersized' DTs either (see Donald, Aaron). This competition could come down to what type of player the Rams want on the roster more, but it is entirely possible that they both impress enough to force the Rams to carry 9 DL again.

Expectations

After making the roster, the 2014 season likely humbled Westbrooks a bit. He had a bit of a hype train when Chris Long went down and largely didn't capitalize on the opportunities he was given. In order to hold off the horde of UDFAs, Westbrooks is going to need to have another strong camp and preseason to show that he hasn't regressed.

Chances of Making Roster (6/10)

3k put LTP at 5/10 and I have to slot Westbrooks a notch above that. He provides some added versatility that LTP doesn't and had an edge in the experience department as well. If the Rams decide to only carry 8 DL in the 2015 season, this could be the final decision made to get the roster down to 53.