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2015 Rams Roster Preview: Is C Demetrius Rhaney The Answer at Center?

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Rhaney has been oft-hyped by Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher as a potential solution at center. Will he emerge from the Rams Center competition as the starter?

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Demetrius Rhaney is one of the biggest unknowns on the Rams roster. On one hand, he was a 7th round pick out of Tennessee State - a FCS (formerly D-II) team. On the other hand, he was projected as a 5-6 round pick at NFL.com and his scouting report touts him as a potential starter.

Rhaney essentially took a medical red-shirt as a rookie with a knee injury. There was no structural damage to the knee and it was eventually diagnosed as a deep bone bruise. There are no long term concerns with the structural integrity of the knee so he heads into his Sophomore season with no injury concerns.

Roster Battle

The Rams have an interesting 3-headed battle for their center position that will provide training camp with a lot of intrigue. Rhaney will compete with Tim Barnes and Barrett Jones for not only the starting spot, but for the backup slot as well. While he has been continually promoted as an option by Fisher, Rhaney is likely trailing the other 2 players at the moment.

All three players have their merits, but Rhaney has his work cut out for him if he wants to start. Barnes has the experience, Jones has an advantage with his versatility (he can also play guard) and his Academic All-American pedigree - which can't be disregarded at the most mentally demanding OL position. Rhaney will have to wow coaches at camp if he is going to make an impact.

Expectations

As an underdog in the center competition, it's reasonable to expect Rhaney to push either Jones or Barnes for playing time early in the preseason. Fisher has repeatedly shown a preference to experience during his time with the Rams, but that term needs to be used loosely with this OL group. I think Rhaney has the potential to push the other two for the starting spot at Center, but I ultimately expect Rhaney to be a backup on the interior OL - whether that be on the final 53-man roster or practice squad.

Chances of Making Final Roster (5/10)

Even with the Rams deficiencies along the OL, it's difficult to envision Rhaney blowing away the competition in camp. I wavered between 5 and 6 here, but the Rams heavy investment via the draft this year made me knock this down a bit. If he has a sub-par training camp, Rhaney is a good candidate to land on the practice squad. If he has a great camp,he could be one of the final OL to make it through roster cuts.