The Los Angeles Rams begin their 2016 rookie minicamp tomorrow in what is sure to grab plenty of attention as the first such minicamp since the team relocated punctuated by the arrival of new franchise QB and 2016 NFL Draft #1 overall pick QB Jared Goff.
Here's how things look position-by-position:
The Rams didn't bring in any "competition" for Goff. With the position's three other veterans, a stretch of a term for second-year QB Sean Mannion who barely got any game experience in 2015, Goff's minicamp is more about getting him acclimated to his teammates, new offensive weapons and setting up his timeline to take over as the Rams' starter.
Like Goff, Green's the only rookie at his position for the Rams. Unlike Goff, Green doesn't have the weight of the entire franchise's expectations on his shoulders. The TCU product should get a chance to battle for a roster spot in camp, but the top of the position is dominated by Just Todd Gurley. The other spots are either depth to spell him or special teams options.
Pharoh Cooper, Mike Thomas, Marquez North, Paul McRoberts, Nelson Spruce, Duke Williams*
* - Williams is in town for a tryout and not as a signed UDFA
Is there a clearer indication of how talent-depleted the Rams' WR corps was in 2015 than the sheer population here? The real question is not only the pecking order for this sextet heading into camp but how that pecking order shakes out once you toss in the 10 other WRs the Rams have in line. In my 53-man roster prediction, I only had the two draftees, Cooper and Thomas, making the roster. If I had to bet on that projection or the field of other potential outcomes? I'd take the field.
Tyler Higbee, Temarrick Hemingway
Between Higbee's arraignment and Hemingway the lone small school draftee in the Rams' 2016 class, this position may the most interesting one of the bunch.
Pace Murphy, Jordan Swindle
Raise your hand if you thought C Tim Barnes wouldn't get some kind of camp challenge this year. Other than the center position, the Rams wildly overdrafted last year to fill out their tackle and guard slots. That certainly freed them up to address other positions this year, but you wonder if this strategy will pay dividends
by not bringing in a single O-lineman this offseason.
(NOTE: I omitted Murphy and Swindle from at the time of publishing. Not sure how they both got skipped. My bad.)
See above...the Rams D-line has been the strength of the personnel for years now, but that's nearing the end. DE Chris Long is gone. DT Michael Brockers is in his contract year. DEs Eugene Sims and William Hayes are both beyond their 20s. Limiting the newcomers to Fox isn't all that worrisome for 2016, but the Rams might be in position to bring in a few more a year from now out of necessity.
Josh Forrest, Nicholas Grigsby, Brandon Chubb, Kache Palacio, Zack Hodges, Matthew Wells, Darreon Herring, Ian Seau
Much like WR, the position is in need of a talent infusion. Throwing a late pick and a host of hopefuls in the mix should produce an option for the 53-man. I went with Grigsby, but not with a ton of confidence. This will be a key position to track over the summer.
Michael Jordan, Winston Rose
The Rams are already five-wide at the position, part of the reason why CB Eric Patterson was let go yesterday. Barring injury, this is likely to be a battle for a practice squad spot.
Brian Randolph, Jordan Lomax, Rohan Gaines
You have to think there's legitimate potential space on the 53-man for one of these. I tabbed Randolph, but training camp and the preseason will be defining for this trio.
Taylor Bertolet, Jeff Overbaugh
The real question is if the Rams coaching staff is sincere about a kicking competition between Bertolet and incumbent Greg Zuerlein or if the UDFA signing itself was the warning for GZ.
The Rams will have three days for the minicamp and orientation before continuing with the rest of Phase II of the offseason program.