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2015 St. Louis Rams Roster Preview: S Rodney McLeod And The Never Ending

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Heading into his fourth year, safety Rodney McLeod has defied expectations since day one. Now that he carries some, how will he stand up?

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't supposed to happen.

Rodney McLeod wasn't supposed to flourish at Virginia. Going into his junior year, McLeod was the only member of the Virginia secondary without an interception. Out of high school, many teams were actually recruiting him to convert him into a wide receiver.

Rodney McLeod wasn't supposed to make an NFL 53-man roster after going undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft. Injuries to Darian Stewart and Craig Dahl left an opening, and McLeod made the most of it finding a way onto the Rams' roster as a special teams contributor.

Rodney McLeod wasn't supposed to be a starting free safety for the Rams. Flirting with Louis Delmas in free agency ahead of the 2013 season, the Rams were looking at upgrading the position above Stewart who was pegged as the starter. A hamstring injury, again, pushed him aside giving McLeod. Again, he took advantage.

Rodney McLeod wasn't supposed to be tendered for a second-round pick as a restricted free agent this offseason. Putting him on that level guaranteed him more than $2.35 million from the team, a clear indication of how valued he is within the organization.

Rodney McLeod has made a career out of doing the things he's not supposed to.

Roster Battle

The Rams have some rotational wrinkles to work out this preseason. Having traded for safety Mark Barron mid-season in 2014, they were forced to plug him in on the fly. Now with an entire offseason to map things out at the back and factoring in what sounds like an improved Maurice Alexander, McLeod's grip on the near 100% playing time both he and T.J. McDonald enjoyed in 2014 (McLeod played 1,023 defensive plays out of 1,051; McDonald played 1,047) may not be so tight in 2015.

Expectations

Higher as always. The bar keeps rising higher and McLeod keeps rising to meet it. Issues in high coverage were more common than infrequent. He needs to work that out. I'd put my money on it already having taken place.

Chances of Making Final Roster (10/10)

Rod ain't going anywhere. But as one of the billionty players headed for their contract year, I'm eager to see what he does to step his game up in 2015.