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2016 Rams Roster Preview: QB Sean Mannion Hangs On For Backup Spot

Sean Mannion has no shot at the starting job, but the Rams are comfortable in his abilities as an insurance policy quarterback.

Kansas City Chiefs v St. Louis Rams Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

With QB Nick Foles on his way out the door, Sean Mannion is a sure bet to stick with the team as the third quarterback.

The Rams drafted Mannion in 2015, spending a late third-round selection to grab the Oregon State product. There was not a buffet of quality quarterback talent in 2015, but the Mannion selection was questionable to say the least. He left college as a four-year starter who made very little improvement over his career and peaked, production-wise, in his junior season - the year Brandin Cooks dominated the Pac-12.

The appeal with Mannion was his stable frame and baseline understanding of how to properly run an offense, from pre-snap reads/commands to deciphering route combos versus different coverages. He was not any different or better than a number of other quarterbacks who were drafted or signed after him, though, and it felt as if the Rams did not get good value when drafting him.

A year later, a lot is still left to be proven, but it would appear the Rams have some degree of faith in him as a depth quarterback.

Roster Battle

The Mannion selection did not make any sense at the time, but it has worked itself out in favor of the young gun. Nick Foles and Case Keenum were both acquired just before the 2015 NFL draft, giving the sense that the Rams were trying to get through the year and eventually retool the entire offense. It didn’t make sense to add another quarterback, but the Rams did it anyway.

The quarterback depth chart now feels cluttered. Foles is a nonfactor at this point, but that still leaves three players in camp with Mannion. Jared Goff is clearly the team’s golden boy, as he should be, and will soon take the starting job. Keenum has value as a quality backup and spot starter, which is all Mannion will be good for. Mannion may be able to jostle Keenum out of the No. 2 spot, but it may be difficult considering Keenum got a fair amount of playing time last season.

Dylan Thompson, a recent South Carolina grad signed in early June, is also in camp, but he is not going to make the roster. Mannion will have him beat without a doubt.


Mannion enters camp as the third option. He has a chance to prove to the Rams that he is a better option than Keenum, but that is going to be tough. Mannion has already talked about things moving much smoother for him in his second offseason, though. Speeding up his mental processing may be enough to move him up a spot on the depth chart, but only time will tell.

Chances of Making Final Roster (9/10)

The Rams held onto three quarterbacks during the regular season last year. Assuming they plan to do the same in 2016, Mannion is going to be either the second or third guy they have active on game day. The team spent a top 100 selection on him just over a year ago, so there is a bit of an obligation to keep him on the roster for a while and see what they have in him.

It’s not likely that he sees playing time in 2016 unless there is an emergency, but the Rams seem to be fairly comfortable in him if that were to happen.