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2016 Rams Roster Preview: DE William Hayes Moves Up the Food Chain

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After serving as the DE3 and filling in when injuries dictated the past four years, Brah Brah Bojangles will get his shot at a full-time starting gig in 2016.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

There may be no player prepped to cut up for Hard Knocks like Brah Brah Bojangles, William Hayes.

While his antics in the locker room may have provided plus filler content online, Hayes has quietly been one of the best free agent signings in the Jeff Fisher era coming over from their shared former employer, the Tennessee Titans. Now with DE Chris Long on the New England Patriots, Hayes likely gets first crack at the starting spot across from Robert Quinn.

Stepping into the spotlight, the ninth-year NFL veteran will finally get a chance to shine on the field to match his antics off of it.

Roster Battle

Hayes has served as the primary backup for Chris Long since coming over in 2012, so the likelihood is pretty high that he walks into the starting role. If there is any competition, it likely will come from newly-signed DE Quinton Coples over longtime Rams reserve DE Eugene Sims. Dominique Easley and Ethan Westbrooks are better suited as swing options in reserve. Matt Longacre is too deep on the chart to factor in here.

In short, it'd be pretty surprising if Hayes isn't in the front four first string.

Expectations

This one's hard to peg down. Hayes often benefited from the rotational advantage of coming in fresh against offensive linemen worn down (albeit, fractionally) by Chris Long's preceding work. Now, he'll need to replicate that same output against fresher competition.

Chances of Making Final Roster (10/10)

Time to see what Hayes can do in the starting gig.