Matt Longacre has faced an uphill battle his entire career.
After going undrafted in the 2015 NFL draft, he signed with the St. Louis Rams - a team with one of the most talented defensive lines in the NFL. He could have signed elsewhere and had a better chance at making it through roster cuts, but chose to sign with the Rams.
If that isn’t a reflection of Longacre’s attitude and determination to challenge himself, I don’t know what is. Injuries had a role in him picking up playing time in five games last season, but 11 combined tackles in those games as a backup is a good launching point for his 2016 campaign.
A year removed from going undrafted, Longacre is hoping to continue his upward trend after a move to Los Angeles.
The Rams carried eight D-linemen out of camp last year, but nine the year prior. Longacre’s chances largely depend on whether Fisher wants to carry five defensive ends out of camp. Longacre sits firmly behind Robert Quinn, William Hayes, Eugene Sims (roster preview), and Quinton Coples (roster preview) on the depth chart. Barring an injury, it’s unlikely he climbs higher than the DE5 spot on the depth chart.
Complicating matters is the versatility of Ethan Westbrooks (roster preview). Westbrooks has the ability to play both inside and out. Coples' ability to shift inside on passing downs may hinder Longacre as well - who is strictly a DE.
Looking at the back end of the roster, Ian Seau (roster preview) is the only player that poses a legitimate threat to Longacre.
It would be unfair to Longacre to levy any significant expectations on him. He’s a rotational player at best. As long as he continues to show off his work ethic, the Rams should ask nothing more of him than completing simple assignments when asked.
Chances of Making Final Roster (4.5/10)
This was tricky. Longacre has promise as a rotational DE, but the Rams are just stacked at the position. RamBuck had Seau at 3/10 while QBKlass has Coples at 8.5. I put Longacre at 4.5 because I think he’s closer to Seau than Coples, and I’m not sold that he has better than a 50/50 shot to make the final roster.