Ever since the St. Louis Rams hired head coach Jeff Fisher, his philosophy has been "the best player will play." This philosophy has especially been shown in regards to the running back position. How many games did 2nd round choice Isaiah Pead play? 7th round pick Daryl Richardson was favored over him, and then 5th round pick Zac Stacy took the job.
In 2013, UDFA Benny Cunningham was given chances to serve as Stacy’s backup, and he did well in a couple of games. In 2014 he continued to show promise as a backup, this time backing up rookie Tre Mason.
The Rams have shown that draft status won’t necessarily equate to number of snaps, but does Cunningham have what it takes to start for the Rams?
Cunningham possesses talent and could develop in to a solid running back, but it might prove hard for him to get touches. Last season, Mason proved that he belonged in the league and since the Rams drafted. Todd Gurley, the team’s first round pick in 2015, will most certainly play.
Luckily for Cunningham, while there are a lot of running backs on the roster, there appears to be a drop off in talent. While the Rams know what they’ve got in Isaiah Pead and Trey Watts, there are some rookies who could fight to be on the roster...and it is doubtful they can push Cunningham for the third running back spot.
Expectations For Cunningham
The honest answer is that it depends on the health of the other backs. The Rams may choose to ease Gurley in at the onset of the season, so that would free up the third down or primary backup role. In fact, last season he surprised and had the third most receptions on the team. He was mainly a passing down back, catching a multitude of passes out of the backfield and pass blocking.
Besides carries, Cunningham has also shown that he can be a valuable kickoff returner for the Rams. As a returner he finished the season with just under 1,000 yards - ending with 963 yards. He finished first in the NFC with 27.5 yards per return.
Chances of Making The Roster (10/10)
Cunningham will make the team. He is too valuable of a player for the Rams to let go. He is a solid backup option for the team as a runner, and is the best returner on the roster. As long as the injury bug stays away, Cunningham will be on the team.