Justin Davis‘ career at USC was one of promise and peril.
With just shy of 2,500 rushing yards and 20 TDs to his name, Davis has plenty of highlights from his time with the Trojans:
He also had a lengthy run of injuries throughout his career from ankle injuries early on to rib and hamstring issues later on, so he’s coming to the NFL with some serious issues on the medical front.
But it’s the running back position and it’s the NFL. Benny Cunningham. Malcolm Brown. Daryl Richardson. You don’t have to be a highly-drafted player to find a roster spot or even carries.
There’s hope at the end of this tunnel for Davis with the Los Angeles Rams.
You’ve got three groups here. One is Just a solo tier in RB Just Todd Gurley. The second is a combo of Malcolm Brown, who logged 18 carries as a reserve back last year, and new signing Lance Dunbar. Behind those three is the contingent of Davis, Aaron Green and fellow rookie UDFA Lenard Tillery. That group at the back is wide open.
Not for the back of the depth chart crew. Between Davis, Green and Tillery, the expectation is competition for a potential spot that might not even exist along with the special teams route.
Chances of Making Final Roster (2.5/10)
The Rams went four-wide on the 53-man for 2016, but that included Chase Reynolds as a special teams-only component. Even if the Rams keep the top trio intact without surprise, there could be a fourth spot available for the backend trio.
The one caveat here is that the Rams could certainly limit the position depth chart to just three spots. If they go that route, it makes things even harder for those three. Complicating things further could be the role for rookie FB Sam Rogers. If he’s seen as a RB with plus blocking skills (Brian Leonard anybody?), it could be an even less likely proposition.
Overall, I can’t go too low with Davis, Green or Tillery. It’s perhaps the weakest value position on an NFL offense. You’ve got the special teams option with high legitimacy. Throw in that both Brown and Green are coming from the Fisherball era, and there’s a clear path for Davis to the 53-man roster in August.
It’s not a shoo-in. It may not even be likely. But there’s a great story that could be written about a USC product joining the new Sean McVay offense...and it’s not Robert Woods.