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2016 Los Angeles Rams Roster Preview: Defensive Backs

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There's turnover and uncertainty in the secondary for the first time in a few seasons. How will the group shape up?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The defensive secondary lost two starters to the NFC East in Free Agency - making clear that their 'Priority A' this offseason proved to be ill though out. With two spots up for grabs, there's plenty to watch as the season approaches.

Rankings

Position Name Chances of Making Roster
CB Trumaine Johnson 10/10
SS T.J. McDonald 10/10
S Maurice Alexander 10/10
CB E.J. Gaines 10/10
CB Coty Sensabaugh 10/10
DB Lamarcus Joyner 9/10
CB Marcus Roberson 9/10
S Christian Bryant 8.5/10
FS Cody Davis 8/10
S Brian Randolph 6/10
DB Michael Jordan 6/10
S Rohan Gaines 4/10
DB Jordan Lomax 4/10
FS Jabriel Washington 3/10
DB Troy Hill 1.5/10

(NOTE: S Jordan Kovacs is not included in this list and is not expected to be a factor in the final roster)

Roster Battle

Last year the Rams kept 4 CBs (Janoris Jenkins, Tru, Joyner, and Roberson) and 5 S (Alexander, Mark Barron, Davis, TJMac, and Rodney McLeod). That group will be altered significantly in 2016. I expect Gaines to step into Jenkins' old roster spot and solidify the group.

The safeties are another story. Barron is now a OLB and McLeod left for greener pastures in free agency. That leaves Alexander, Davis, and McDonald which is intriguing but just a little frightening. Christian Bryant is the most likely to fill the 4th safety spot.

If the Rams carry nine DBs, that leaves one roster spot and a whole lotta bodies gunning for it. Given the flexibility of some of the Rams DBs - not to mention Barron and Alec Ogletree who are both former safeties - whoever can make the biggest impact on special teams will be in a good position to secure the final spot.

Expectations

You have a stud CB in Trumaine Johnson, but after that there is a lot more fluidity with this group. Opposite Tru, Joyner was a vaunted second round pick in the 2014 draft and needs to start living up to that billing. He will be competing with Gaines for the other starting CB spot. Sensabaugh was the Rams biggest addition from outside the organization and has a lot of work to do in order to live up to that contract.

The safety situation is a bit more unsettled. McLeod is gone and McDonald could be facing a suspension from a DUI this offseason. That leaves Davis and Alexander 'starting' in camp - which makes me a bit queasy. The safeties have the ability to make or break this defense.

Don't hold the defense back.

Impact on Final Roster

Some teams carry 10 DBs throughout the season, but Jeff Fisher has shown that he's comfortable with only having 9 on the roster. With this group it's hard to blame him. There's versatility all over the place and the LBs are athletic enough to handle their own in coverage if asked.

Unless one of the lower tier DBs really impresses in the preseason, I don't expect the Rams to eat another roster spot in the secondary. It would be similarly unwise to carry 8 DBs due to Gaines' recent propensity for getting injured and TJ Mac's yet to be determined punishment.