The last game of the preseason for all but two NFL teams comes tonight as teams focus on not only keeping their starters healthy, but also having their team ready for the regular season. This will be an important game for the rookies as this will be the last chance for players to make an impression on the coaching staff with the cuts from the 75-man cap as of today to the 53-man roster required Saturday at 4pm ET.
Here are my five rookies to keep an eye on tonight as the Los Angeles Rams close their preseason against the Minnesota Vikings:
CB Mike Jordan
If Jordan is going to stick out and make the team, this is the week where he needs to make a statement. Jordan has looked solid throughout the preseason. Were it not for Troy Hill, Jordan would probably have performed the best out of the rookies in the secondary.
Jordan has shadowed wide receivers well in coverage and has made clutch plays to prevent first downs. More of the same would be nice. An interception would really put an exclamation point on the season. Either way, I do consider Jordan a prime practice squad addition.
OL Isaiah Battle
So Battle is not a rookie, but with him not being a factor last season and barely playing this preseason, I'm bending the rules to include the offensive lineman.
Battle was drafted by the Rams in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Supplemental Draft. During his last season with the Clemson Tigers, Battle didn't surrender a single sack. Part of the reason that the Rams felt the need to not play Battle during his rookie season is because he needs to bulk up if he's going to hold off opposing pass rushers.
Battle only has a handful of snaps this preseason. Unless he shows up against the Vikings, it's going to be difficult imagining him sticking around. He could provide depth on the offensive line, but that's only if he can find a way to stay on the field.
QB Jared Goff
Will Goff start week one of the regular season? Of course not.
Case Keenum will be managing the Rams' offense until he either is injured or the Rams lose enough games to force the issue. On the bright side, there is a 50/50 chance that the rookie QB will start tonight against the Vikings. Goff will not play well enough to force Head Coach Jeff Fisher to start him for the season opener, but at least he could show enough to have people think that the Rams made the right decision in trading up for him.
RB Aaron Green
The Rams' trademark lately has been finding running backs and developing them into good players. Benny Cunningham and Malcolm Brown are the latest to come to mind. Both of these players might not be top-tier starters, but they could be solid role players on a number of NFL teams. Will Green be the next running back on the list? Perhaps.
He has made some plays so far, and with Tre Mason absent there remains an open spot for Green to develop and maybe stay on the team.
WR Paul McRoberts
Any of the Rams undrafted free agent wide receivers could be on this list, but I chose McRoberts. While most of the top of the Rams' WR depth chart hasn't shown the ability to make plays, at least this one UDFA has registered a catch in every game during the preseason.
It is doubtful that McRoberts makes the 53-man roster. As a receiver, he is still raw, and he just has not made any impact plays thus far. At 6'2", he does have the size that NFL teams covet and does appear to have solid hands.
With the lack of size on the roster, I would not be surprised if the Rams do not stash him on the practice squad at least to see how he develops over the course of 2016.