In the year 2000, Logan Mankins left the small town of Mariposa, California, a town on the western edge of Yosemite National Park, a town of just 1,373 people according to the 2000 census. Mankins would head to Fresno St. to put up a stellar career at left tackle blocking for QB David Carr. As the last pick of the first round in the 2005 NFL Draft, Mankins began a nine-year run with the New England Patriots that has vaulted him into NFL Hall of Fame consideration.
Now as Mankins' career is ending, another former Mariposa resident is starting his NFL career in Rams' sixth-round 2015 NFL Draft selection Cody Wichmann.
Like Makins, Wichmann attended Mariposa High School. Like Mankins, Wichmann headed south to play for Fresno St. Like Mankins, Wichmann would star on the offensive line blocking for a quarterback named Carr (Derek, not David, this time).
I can see where this is going. So can Cody.
Even at Fresno they had his picture in the main hallway that we had to our meeting rooms, and (I'd) just glance up there every once in a while and tell myself, "Gosh, he did it from a small town, why can't I?"
Now we're getting closer to the battle line.
The Rams kept nine O-linemen last year, with versatility a key factor (more on that as we head into camp). This year, they've got seven new names (denoted by *) among the fifteen total to begin camp with (alphabetical): Steven Baker (roster preview), Tim Barnes, Travis Bond, Jamon Brown*, Andrew Donnal*, Rob Havenstein*, Barrett Jones, Garrett Reynolds*, Demetrius Rhaney, Greg Robinson, Rodger Saffold, David Wang* (roster preview), Brandon Washington, Darrell Williams* (roster preview) and Wichmann*.
Wichmann's in a crowded group as a late-rookie. It's not as if Rams fans should be clamoring for him to earn a starting role, but he should get to camp ready to prove he's worth sticking around. With the UDFAs and back-end veterans filling up much of the group, he'll have a shot.
Chances of Making Final Roster (2.5/10)
Wichmann's a clear practice squad candidate for me either with St. Louis or a second suitor. He's definitely worth tracking early on in camp battling with the bottom third of the OL group to make it to the 75-man.