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2017 Rams Roster Preview: WR Bradley Marquez, Last Of A Dying Breed

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The third-year WR has a leg up on special teams but will that be enough to secure a roster spot with a new offense-minded head coach?

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-OTA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams WR Bradley Marquez hasn’t been much of a wide receiver in his two years with the team. Marquez is listed as a WR only because there isn’t an official designation for special teams gunner.

He made the Rams roster in 2015 as an UDFA after a relatively quiet career at Texas Tech. He’s played in 30 games for the Rams while never offering much in the form of WR production as he’s totaled just 16 catches for 125 yards. What he lacks on offense, he makes up for it as one of the team’s best performers as a gunner and vice blocker for a special teams unit that ranked near top of the league in coverage.

Roster Battle

WR Robert Woods was signed in free agency and joins WR Tavon Austin and Marquez as the only WRs with more than one year of NFL experience on the roster. The Rams drafted two this year in the 2017 NFL Draft in WR Cooper Kupp and WR Josh Reynolds on the heels of drafting WR Pharoh Cooper and WR Mike Thomas (roster preview) in the 2016 NFL Draft. Mythical legend WR Nelson Spruce (roster preview) is healthy again and joins Paul McRoberts (roster preview) as 2016 UDFAs looking to make the roster. Camp bodies Brandon Shippen (roster preview) and Shakeir Ryan (roster preview) round out the receiver group.

Marquez’s biggest competition for a major special teams role would be Mike Thomas but Thomas, if you believe minicamp reports, has improved as WR. Thomas’ four-game suspension certainly helps Marquez in the short term. With so many new receivers added in the past two seasons, Marquez needs to stand out by finally proving to be a viable option in the pass game in training camp and in the preseason.

Expectations

Marquez once again will be at his best as a member of the special teams and is unlikely to outperform many of the new faces at WR during training camp on offense. New Head Coach Sean McVay is likely to give everyone plenty of reps to see what fits where, but I don’t expect that Marquez was a victim of the previously inept regime.

Chances of Making Final Roster (5/10)

Coin flip. This will ultimately come down to how McVay prefers to construct his final roster. Does he place a premium on special teams play in a position group that with such little production? I have my doubts.

John Fassel, returning as Special Teams Coordinator, surely will lobby for Marquez to make the cut. The Rams may not be in position to sacrifice a gameday roster spot at the WR position for a special teams player.