It is finally time for the 2016 Los Angeles Rams season to begin.
There are four weeks of preseason football that precede the regular season. And while nobody cares about the final score of these four, all that matters is that we finally get to put the players we have been reading online in action.
With a new preseason comes new players to root for. Here are your five rookies to watch for the Rams' preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
QB Jared Goff
One of the best outcomes of the Rams announcing Case Keenum will be the starting QB in this game is it allows Goff to gain more playing time. Goff has a lot of things to work on: playing under center, recognizing coverage, having the timing of his passes on point and also taking snaps under center at the top of the list.
Will Goff start the season? All signs point to no. However if Goff is good during the preseason, then there would be less of a reason to hold him back.
LB Josh Forrest
Forrest is the only defensive player that the Rams drafted, so it makes sense to watch him. It is hard to imagine Forrest climbing to the ranks of a starter his rookie season, but could he make an impact on special teams? Yes.
If Forrest becomes a special teams ace and a solid backup linebacker, then he would not be a wasted pick. With the lack of proven depth at linebacker, a good preseason could earn him some playing time during the season.
WR Pharoh Cooper
Over the past few seasons, the Rams receiving corps has been really poor. So when the Rams drafted Cooper in the fourth-round this year, there were expectations placed on him. This will be the first chance to see him in action. It has been expected that Cooper would wrestle the starting third receiver position from Bradley Marquez and/or Brian Quick, but that has not happened...yet.
In college, Cooper showed versatility as an offensive weapon by not only being impressive in the slot, but also by moving around the offense and being a solid playmaker no matter where he lined up. In college he was basically a gadget player. With the Rams, I imagine him being a Danny Amendola type of player.
TE Tyler Higbee
Before Higbee's big red flag incident, he was being touted as a top prospect at tight end. The Rams ended up drafting a player with big play potential, and they have to consider the reward being higher than the risk, since they ended up drafting him.
This is what Pro Football Focus has to say about Higbee:
As a pure receiver, there may not be a better option in the class. Higbee has abilities that you can’t teach a 6-foo-6-inch player. His inexperience, low level of competition, and size may make it hard for teams to justify drafting him early on, but his traits right now have future-starter written all over them.
Higbee has been impressing during camp, so it will be interesting to see if that translates into game situations this early on, or if he will need more experience to make an impact.
CB Mike Jordan
Every season, there's one player who accomplished a lot and plays a position of need. Jordan fits that criteria.
In his four seasons with the Missouri Western Griffons, Jordan intercepted 16 passes. In his final season he intercepted five passes, had 22 pass breakups and 41 tackles. Right now the Rams corner situation is a bit of a mess after Trumaine Johnson. E.J. Gaines will be attempting to successfully come back from injury after missing last season. Third-year corner Lamarcus Joyner and new Ram Coty Sensabaugh are coming off of below-average seasons.
There is a chance that Jordan finds a way to stick around, especially if he can play special teams.