The Los Angeles Rams chug along in camp after winning their first preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Rams didn’t make many moves this week at the bottom of the roster but made a splash by trading for Sammy Watkins.
With the wide receiver room getting more and more crowded, the veterans are more likely to stick giving less and less opportunity for the younger players. However, running backs are benefiting from Lance Dunbar’s absence while some offensive linemen are struggling to fill Andrew Donnal’s void and that is where we begin.
Let’s start with an area that needs some improvement. A surprise member of the 2016 53-man roster, Pace Murphy has been the “next man up” at tackle while Andrew Donnal continues to nurse his knee injury.
In the first preseason game, Murphy had chances at both left and right tackle and he did not impress. With Donnal still out and Jamon Brown not lighting the world on fire as a starter, there may be a true need for a swing tackle. For now, Murphy may be facing an uphill battle for future opportunities.
Putting this out there for 31 NFL teams that might be in need of a free agent lineman. Meet Pace Murphy (LT). pic.twitter.com/V6JuXokXe8— Brandon Bate (@NoPlanB_) August 13, 2017
He's just as effective on the right side! pic.twitter.com/3DvStJ5Y4M— Brandon Bate (@NoPlanB_) August 13, 2017
No player surprised more than the former Trojan running back, Justin Davis. Davis led the Rams in rushing with 70 explosive yards but also disappointed in some regards with ball security.
Once considered an essential lock to not make the roster as the fourth or worse running back on the depth chart (behind Todd Gurley, Lance Dunbar, Malcolm Brown), Davis has taken full advantage of Dunbar’s absence.
Justin Davis has looked good when he's holding into the ball. Two fumbles this drive though— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) August 13, 2017
Aaaaaand Justin Davis earns himself some more time on the team pic.twitter.com/ZROslOHsL6— Brandon Bate (@NoPlanB_) August 13, 2017
The above is the “good”. The below is the “bad”.
Look for Davis to focus on ball security and perhaps get some more run in the next preseason game before Malcolm Brown as Lance Dunbar is still progressing slower than anticipated.
Considered an afterthought in many eyes, including myself, Longacre impressed in the first preseason game with his relentless motor. With the front seven missing key players Aaron Donald out via holdout, Dominique Easley out for the season, and Robert Quinn nursing a tweak, Longacre will benefit from the extra reps as he looks to fight for a roster spot.
Matt Longacre making plays for the Rams. He's been getting a lot of reps in camp.— Rich Hammond (@Rich_Hammond) August 13, 2017
If anyone was to benefit from the Sammy Watkins trade that also shipped out E.J. Gaines, it would be an outside corner. Jordan played in five games for the Rams in 2016 and was presumably set to be facing a tough battle to make the roster with Kayvon Webster and Nickell Robey-Coleman joining the Rams in free agency.
However, the Jumpman himself had something to say with his play against Dallas, showing good instincts and showing continued improvement from last season.
Look for Jordan to try and take some of the reps away from the secondary in flux. With so many pieces moving around, Jordan may be able to carve a niche for himself.