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2017 Los Angeles Rams 53-Man Roster Projection: Pre-Training Camp

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Here’s how things are shaping up for the 53-man heading into camp.

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

QB

(2016: 3 kept on initial 53-man roster, 2015: 3, 2014: 2)

2017 projection: 2

In: Jared Goff, Sean Mannion

Out: Dan Orlovsky

No longer on roster: Aaron Murray, Dylan Thompson

Change from last projection: N/A

There’s certainly been some drama with the QB3 spot this offseason. Murray: March 9 - May 11. Thompson: May 30 - June 15. Orlovsky: July 20 - ?

Is a Goff-Mannion pairing a lock, or does the suggestion that Mannion was perhaps a Fisherball selection lend some credence to either a trio for the 53-man or a different pairing?

As of now, I’m rolling with the consensus.

RB

(2016: 4, 2015: 5, 2014: 5)

2017 projection: 4

In: Todd Gurley, Lance Dunbar, Malcolm Brown, Aaron Green

Out: Justin Davis, De’Mard Llorens, Lenard Tillery

No longer on roster: Brandon Wegher

Change from last projection: N/A

This might be the unit (aside from ST) I feel the most comfortable about.

If anything, it’s a Green versus the field battle for me. We all know JTG’s got the lead horse role. Dunbar gets passing downs, and Brown can work short-yardage situations. Green perhaps is in flux ESPECIALLY depending on who shows out for special teams.

The key to remember here for the position size is that four the last four years, Chase Reynolds was a staple in the group solely for special teams. So last year, the Rams were truly just three running backs wide in Gurley, Brown and former backup Benny Cunningham with Reynolds the add-on. So I could see arguments for a three-man unit here (with practice squad cover) or an argument for a five-man grouping.

All that for the unit I feel the most comfortable about. ALL HAIL THE GREAT MCVAYING!

WR

(2016: 7, 2015: 6, 2014: 5)

2017 projection: 7

In: Robert Woods, Tavon Austin, Pharoh Cooper, Bradley Marquez, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds, Nelson Spruce

Suspended: Mike Thomas

Out: Paul McRoberts, Brandon Shippen, Shakeir Ryan

No longer on roster: Marquez North

Change from last projection: Thomas SUSPENDED, Spruce IN

The Thomas suspension ultimately changes things significantly for the position heading into the season. If nothing else, his suspension keeping him off the 53-man roster makes it easy to fill the position elsewhere and deal with any roster decisions when he comes back after Week 4.

Plenty to play for here overall, and the size of the position is completely up in the air.

TE/FB

(2016: 4, 2015: 3, 2014: 5)

2017 projection: 4

In: Tyler Higbee, Temarrick Hemingway, Gerald Everett, Sam Rogers

Out: Cory Harkey, Zach Laskey, Travis Wilson, Johnny Mundt

No longer on roster: Bryce Williams

Change from last projection: N/A

Close to the certainty with the RB position here, but seeing a TE/FB group without Cory Harkey based on a camp cut is always going to feel a bit odd.

OL

(2016: 10, 2015: 10, 2014: 9)

2017 projection: 9

In: Andrew Whitworth, Rodger Saffold, John Sullivan, Rob Havenstein, Jamon Brown, Andrew Donnal, Cody Wichmann, Jake Eldrenkamp, Alex Kozan

Out: Darrell Williams, Pace Murphy, Parker Collins, Michael Dunn, Austin Blythe

No longer on roster: Greg Robinson, Demetrius Rhaney, Anthony McMeans

Change from last projection: Robinson OUT, Rhaney OUT, Eldrenkamp IN, Kozan IN

The depth battle here should be fascinating.

What does new Head Coach Sean McVay, new Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur and new Offensive Line Coach Aaron Kromer value in terms of specific traits? Do they place a priority on versatility the way the previous administration did?

Once these guys get the pads on, we’ll finally get a better sense of their applicable skill set.

DL

(2016: 8, 2015: 8, 2014: 10)

2016 projection: 6

In: Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Dominique Easley, Ethan Westbrooks, Louis Trinca-Pasat, Mike Purcell

Out: Matt Longacre, Casey Sayles, Morgan Fox, A.J. Jefferson, Tanzel Smart, Omarius Bryant, Cashaud Lyons

No longer on roster: Tyrunn Walker

Change from last projection: Smart OUT, Purcell IN

A day after my last 53-man projection, the Rams cut four players and signed Purcell. The third heaviest player on the roster and the only one of the top-10 heaviest who’s not an OL, Purcell offers a unique resume to backup Brockers as the starting NT. The skill set isn’t refined, but his role grew with the San Francisco 49ers in his three NFL seasons to the point he earned five starts in 2016. I could see him making the 53-man as a primary backup and stashing the younger winners of the depth roster battle on the practice squad (see: Smart).

And in terms of the position size, don’t be overly concerned with the reduction. The last two years in a 4-3 front, an 8-man rotation meant the Rams a down starter and backup at all positions. Now in a 3-4 front seven, a six-man DL unit would offer the same. I could see an extra spot for depth and special teams.

LB

(2016: 5, 2015: 6, 2014: 5)

2017 projection: 8

In: Robert Quinn, Connor Barwin, Samson Ebukam, Alec Ogletree, Mark Barron, Josh Forrest, Bryce Hager, Ejuan Price

Out: Cassanova McKinzy, Carlos Thompson, Nic Grigsby, Cory Littleton, Kevin Davis, Folarin Orimolade, Andy Mulumba

No longer on roster: Reggie Northrup, Teidrick Smith

Change from last projection: N/A

If the WR battle is most popular one, this might be my favorite.

It’s only going to take a couple plays in training camp and a second half sack or two for some of these names to start building a fan base.

CB

(2016: 5, 2015: 4, 2014: 6)

2017 projection: 5

In: Trumaine Johnson, E.J. Gaines, Kayvon Webster, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Michael Jordan

Out: Troy Hill, Blake Countess, Kevin Peterson, Aarion Penton

No longer on roster: Jared Collins, Ishmael Adams, Dravious Wright

Change from last projection: Adams OUT, Jordan IN

Yeah, I dunno.

Note that I’ve got Joyner below at safety, but I’m just

S

(2016: 4, 2015: 5, 2014: 4)

2017 projection: 5

In: Lamarcus Joyner, Maurice Alexander, Cody Davis, John Johnson, Marqui Christian

Out: Isaiah Johnson, Dominique Hatfield

No longer on roster: Brian Randolph, Jerome Couplin

Change from last projection: Randolph OUT

Is this the strongest position from starters to depth outside of special teams? I have a hard time thinking otherwise.

ST

(2016: 3, 2015: 3, 2014: 3)

2017 projection: 3

In: Greg Zuerlein, Johnny Hekker, Jake McQuaide

Out: N/A

No longer on roster: Andrew East

Change from last projection: N/A

THE THREE HORSEMEN RIDE YET AGAIN NOW PROPELLED FORTH IN REMEMBRANCE OF EASTMODE, THE SOLDIER WHO NEVER WAS, A FALLEN SHADOW LEFT BEHIND IN THE DESERT.


Practice Squad

RB Lenard Tillery, WR Brandon Shippen, TE Johnny Mundt, OT Michael Dunn, DE A.J. Jefferson, DT Tanzel Smart, OLB Cory Littleton, LB Nic Grigsby, CB Kevin Peterson, S Dominique Hatfield


Overall

Offense: 26, Defense: 24, Special Teams: 3

(2016: 28/22/3, 2015: 27/23/3, 2014: 26/24/3)

It’s much harder this year with the coaching staff overhaul. Without established priorities in general let alone at various positions, who knows what baseline will be set with this year’s 53-man.

Who turns into the special teams stalwarts of yesteryear? The Fisherball era leaned into Cody Davis, Chase Reynolds and Daren Bates. Does McVay and Special Teams Coach (and former Interim Head Coach) John Fassel find a new trio to lean into in 2017? With Davis on my 53-man here as well as WR Bradley Marquez, do either of them fall off leaving even more room?

Or, and this is where things could get interesting, does the lack of pressure to win in 2017 allow the staff to use depth spots on their home positions? Does Davis make way for a player with more viability at safety?

Things are underway. We’ll have weekly 53-man