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2018 Los Angeles Rams Roster Preview: DL Tanzel Smart and the evidence of intelligence

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Smart was once billed as a potential backup for the LA Rams. Will the talent at the top and the depth fight prove too much for the second-year Ram?

Los Angeles Rams v Oakland Raiders Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

When the Los Angeles Rams selected Tanzel Smart with the 189th overall pick in the 6th round of the 2017 NFL Draft, they already had a fairly stacked DL.

Nevertheless, Smart made the team coming out of training camp and played in each game during his rookie season. He did enough to have fans wondering if he had potential to be a fixture on the DL rotation moving forward.

Roster Battle

Then the Rams added Ndamukong Suh and brought back Dominique Easley (roster preview) on a one-year deal. That puts Smart perhaps sixth in line for snaps. What hurts Smart here is that the Rams have plenty of depth at DE and at 6’1”, 300 lbs., Smart isn’t built for playing NT in the NFL.

So his role is a bit murky heading into camp.

Expectations

Smart has two paths onto this team. Either he learns to be an anchor at NT or he beats out Ethan Westbrooks and/or Easley for a rotational spot at the 3-4 DE.

Unfortunately for the 23-year old out of Tulane, I don’t see either of those happening.

Chances of Making Roster (3/10)

The Rams depth along the DL and Smart’s lack of versatility limit his prospects of making the team. The only thing he has going for him is Easley’s injury history. He might be better suited setting his sights on the practice squad for 2018.