Here we are, a few days after the Los Angeles Rams’ first preseason game, and it’s time for a stock up/stock down training camp review. Last week, I had the “stock down” guys as: trio of WR’s (Tavon Austin, Josh Reynolds, Mike Thomas), DE Dominique Easley, and TE Cory Harkey. Here’s this week’s:
Every WR not named Sammy Watkins or Cooper Kupp
All of ‘em. Watkins comes in as the top dog in the receiver room, and once he gets up to speed, every WR on the roster (including TE’s) will lose targets. Now, that’s not a bad thing at all (for the team), but for individual players, seeing less time on the field, and seeing less targets coming their way, it will have an impact.
RG Jamon Brown
At the beginning of the offseason, Jamon Brown was named the starter at RT. That experiment barely lasted, and as recently as last week we heard Rob Havenstein and Jamon Brown flipping back to their regular positions. Coach McVay said it was “for versatility because the season is long”, but that was likely coach speak for “Jamon won’t be able to last at RT, and Havenstein is our best option out there”. After game one of the preseason, Jamon struggled, and this quote was dropped by Coach McVay in yesterday’s presser:
McVay said Jamon Brown is the RG starter, but "that’s all subject to change, because we always kind of preach the theme of competition"— Rich Hammond (@Rich_Hammond) August 13, 2017
CB Mike Jordan
With the recent trading of E.J. Gaines, someone has to step up in the CB group. Now, I believe the top three are etched in stone as Tru/Kayvon/NRC, but that’s where the fun begins. Jordan was a UDFA rookie last season who got more playing time than anyone expected (due to injury), and now has a battle for the fourth spot on the CB depth chart with guys like Kevin Peterson, Troy Hill, and others. Jordan had an impressive preseason showing as PFF recently had him ranked as the Rams standout performer. He also had an INT in training camp against Sean Mannion.
DE Tanzel Smart
The sixth-round rookie seems to be steadily making an impact. With Aaron Donald still away from the team, and Dominique Easley lost for the year, someone’s going to need to step up on the DL, and Tanzel Smart has taken a big step towards doing that. He’s likely not the first option yet, but with an impressive showing in his first NFL game, he could slowly start receiving more snaps.
TE Gerald Everett
Now, this is a hard one for multiple reasons. The main one being is that rookie TE’s rarely have a big impact on the field, and it’s hard to see Everett coming out as an instant Pro Bowler. But, even then, Everett showed very well in his first preseason game. He showed his unique RAC ability and a soft set of hands, he also lined up in multiple TE positions showing his positional versatility. He still has Tyler Higbee ahead of him on the depth chart, so his impact will likely be minimal, but for a guy who so much was spent on, a good showing so far and a consistent usage rate throughout training camp is always a positive.
WR Cooper Kupp
This may seem contradictory, but it’s not. I have every other WR outside of Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp listed as “stock down’s”. Why is Kupp not included? Well, he still remains the Rams third WR, and nothing in terms of his role changes. He’ll still be a security blanket for Jared Goff, and will still operate near the LOS and around the first down marker. Also, an elite deep threat like Sammy Watkins only opens up more space underneath for guys like Kupp to operate, and his first NFL showing was impressive (aside from a dropped ball).