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2016 Rams Roster Preview: LB Matthew Wells Gunning For Final Linebacker Spot

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Matthew Wells has had a rough time in the NFL. Just a year ago, Wells was selected by the New England Patriots in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He is now fighting for a roster spot.

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Matthew Wells has had a rough time in the NFL.

Just a year ago, Wells was selected by the New England Patriots in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He was traded to the Chicago Bears early in the preseason of that year, only to be cut days before the start of the regular season. Wells then spent a few weeks in November with the Rams as a practice squad player.

With three separate teams having cut him throughout his first year in the league (Rams included), Wells is not going to get many more chances in the league. This off-season is critical for what appears to be a fleeting professional career.

Roster Battle

The Rams currently have 13 players that could play an off-ball linebacker position. Wells is listed in the fourth and final tier of players at the position. Lucky for him, six of the other 12 linebackers are first year players whereas Wells has a few months of experience in the professional environment under his belt. Furthermore, only one of those six rookies, 6th-round pick Josh Forrest, is a drafted player. Regardless of the lack of experience of Wells' competitors, he has a long road ahead of him to earn a roster spot.

Bryce Hager is a fairly safe bet to make the roster behind the starting lineup. Assuming the Rams carry six linebackers like they did to end last season, that leaves two more spots up for grabs. The aforementioned Forrest is only a rookie, but he provides a lot of the same dynamic Alec Ogletree does, though he is obviously not that level of talent. It is fair to say he will make the roster as well.

Expectations

The sixth and likely last linebacker spot appears to be out of reach for Wells. He does not have any sort of dynamic trait. His hips often look stiff in space and he does not have the strength to take on blockers. Some players can mask these flaws, to some extent, with great instincts, but Wells is not that guy.

Chances of Making Roster (1.5/10)

There is an off chance that Wells has soaked up a lot of knowledge in his one year in the league, but that is wishful thinking. More than likely, he is the same stiff, mentally slow player that he was last season. Cameron Lynch, who the Rams rostered last season, and company will force Wells to look for work elsewhere.