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Post-minicamp 2019 Los Angeles Rams depth chart review, 53-man roster projection

Taking a look at the roster as we head into the dead period before training camp.

The Los Angeles Rams huddle up during minicamp, Jun. 13, 2018.
The Los Angeles Rams huddle up during minicamp, Jun. 13, 2018.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Well, we’re headed into the darkness of the dead period — the month-plus long break between minicamp, which ended on Tuesday, and training camp which looks set to open on July 27.

So with the offseason now behind us (more or less), here’s an updated 2019 Los Angeles Rams 53-man roster projection based on what we’ve seen to this point.

Position parentheticals denote the number of players at the position that make the 53-man. Rookies and undrafted rookies are also noted in parentheses.

Previous projections

QB (2)

In: Jared Goff, Blake Bortles
Out: Brandon Allen, John Wolford
Changes from last projection: N/A

No change for me here even with Wolford making the play of organized team activities with his spectacular one-handed catch in OTA #7.

The real intrigue is how things shape up for 2020 and beyond. With Goff’s contract extension a focus point of the 2019 season, there are two interesting tangents alongside it. For one, the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires along with Goff’s current rookie deal at the end of the 2020 NFL football year in March 2021. But second is that the Rams don’t have any quarterbacks other than Goff under contract beyond 2019. Bortles, Allen and Wolford are all scheduled to be free agents next offseason. Is there anything they could do over the next six-and-a-half months to change that?

RB (4)

In: Todd Gurley, Darrell Henderson (rookie), Malcolm Brown, John Kelly
Out: Justin Davis, Matt Colburn (UDFA)
Changes from last projection: N/A

The Gurley/Henderson nexus will obviously be the draw here, but I’m intrigued by the rest of the depth chart. Brown’s been very good in support of Gurley as the RB2 the last two seasons. Will he continue to get the same number of carries with Hendo in the mix? And does John Kelly still offer anything as a running back, or has he now been assigned to special teams duties alone?

WR (6)

In: Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds, KhaDarel Hodge, JoJo Natson
Out: Mike Thomas, Austin Proehl, Alex Bachman (UDFA), Nsimba Webster (UDFA), WR Johnathan Lloyd (UDFA)
Changes from last projection: N/A

What’s fascinating here is that the top of the depth chart is locked in, so the Rams can be more creative thereafter as they were with Hodge and Natson in 2018.

TE/FB (3)

In: Gerald Everett, Tyler Higbee, Keenen Brown (UDFA)
Out: Johnny Mundt, Romello Brooker (UDFA), Kendall Blanton (UDFA)
Changes from last projection: N/A

This might be the most motivated group on the team.

Higbee’s in a contract year. There’s already some budding noise behind a breakout year for Everett, though I would guess some of that is borne more out of demand than evaluation. And the other four are fighting for a job.

Heed the words of everyone’s favorite early-19th century prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli.

Desperation is sometimes as powerful an inspirer as genius.

OL (9)

In: Andrew Whitworth, Rob Havenstein, Joseph Noteboom, Brian Allen, Austin Blythe, Bobby Evans (rookie), David Edwards (rookie), Jamil Demby, Aaron Neary
Out: Jeremiah Kolone, Chandler Brewer (UDFA), Vitas Hrynkiewicz (UDFA), Brandon Hitner (UDFA), Matt Kaskey (UDFA)
No longer on roster: Darrell Williams
Changes from last projection: Neary IN, Williams OUT

This is one where the practice squad could have a major effect. The Rams drafted Demby last year, but he landed on the Detroit Lions’ practice squad before coming home in December. I could see that kind of path for a bunch of the candidates I’ve got on the outs...or even for Demby himself.

DL (5)

In: Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Sebastian Joseph-Day, John Franklin-Myers, Greg Gaines (rookie)
Out: Tanzel Smart, Tyrell Thompson (UDFA), Bryant Jones (UDFA), Marquise Copeland (UDFA), Boogie Roberts (UDFA)

I don’t have a good feel here since the roles are so loosely defined. Plenty for Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips, Defensive Line Coach Eric Henderson and Assistant Defensive Line Coach Thad Bogardus to sort through, though there’s also going to be interest from Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel with this group.

LB (9)

In: Clay Matthews, Micah Kiser, Cory Littleton, Samson Ebukam, Dante Fowler, Jr., Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Morgan Fox, Dakota Allen (rookie), Bryce Hager
Out: Justin Lawler, Trevon Young, Troy Reeder (UDFA), Natrez Patrick (UDFA), Josh Carraway, Landis Durham (UDFA)
Changes from last projection: Hager IN, Patrick OUT

This might be the group with the most to earn throughout camp and the preseason.

Kiser likely steps into the spot vacated by Mark Barron, though Matthews’ usage is yet to be defined at least in terms of how it might affect a Kiser-Littleton primary ILB duo. And while Fowler’s likely locked in as a starter on the edge, I’m not sure that’s the case for Ebukam. Okoronkwo missed all of last year’s run-up after breaking his foot during OTAs, and Fox tore his ACL around the same time. So those two will certainly be keen to prove themselves this time around while Allen’s Last Chance U fame will certainly make him a fan favorite.

CB (6)

In: Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Nickell Robey-Coleman, David Long (rookie), Troy Hill, Dominique Hatfield
Out: Kevin Peterson, Darious Williams, Donte Deayon, Ramon Richards
Changes from last projection: N/A

This might be one of the groups I’m most confident with in terms of projection, though keep Peterson in mind. He tore his ACL in the first preseason game last year which derailed what might have been a promising sophomore season after getting some key playing time in 2017 including one start.

S (6)

In: John Johnson III, Eric Weddle, Taylor Rapp (rookie), Marqui Christian, Nick Scott (rookie), Travin Howard
Out: Steven Parker
No longer on roster: Blake Countess
Changes from last projection: Howard IN, Countess OUT

Countess’ departure opens a huge door here. I’ll tab Howard, but it might be a chance for the Rams to beef up somewhere else for special teams help.

ST (3)

In: Greg Zuerlein, Johnny Hekker, Jake McQuaide
Out: N/A

HMZ back in the saddle.

One thing we haven’t spent much time considering is the fact that Zuerlein is in a contract year.

Time to re-up Legatron?

So three changes due to the transactions in the last month. More obviously to come, but this will be the last projection until we get to camp.

Let’s get through the next month or so, and then we’ll play this game again.