Part of it is just work, and Los Angeles Rams S Jake Gervase knows it.
A walk on at Iowa, Gervase had to grind his way up the roster to get a starting job in 2017. That work saw him named as a captain in 2018 capping an inspirational career in Iowa City.
If there’s anything that’s going to get in his way in trying to make it in the NFL, it won’t be for a lack of work.
The top of the safety depth chart looks fantastic. S John Johnson III is one of the league’s best young safeties. The Rams added S Eric Weddle in free agency, though he’s at the tail end of his Hall of Fame-caliber career. And in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Rams spent their first pick on S Taylor Rapp to inject more talent at the back.
S Marqui Christian is likely the first reserve option.
The depth is much more muddled.
Two safeties who made the Rams’ 2018 53-man roster, DB Blake Countess and S Isaiah Johnson, are both gone. That potentially leaves a spot open to compete for given Rapp’s addition.
2018 NFL Draft seventh-round pick S/LB Travin Howard is a bit of hybrid a la Mark Barron who can stick in at linebacker or safety. He was released in cuts last year but made it back to the practice squad midseason. S Nick Scott was worth a seventh-round pick a few months ago. DB Ramon Richards has a bit of the Countess dual role being able to play corner or safety. And S Steven Parker (roster preview) hung around on the practice squad last year.
So there’s reason to think that group has a shot at adding someone to the 53-man roster though it might be more for special teams than for defensive work. That could play in Gervase’s favor.
Well given his background, it might be the work ethic and how well that lends to special teams competence especially coming out of the Big Ten.
But as a safety? Nah.
Chances of making the final roster (4/10)
I think he’s got a legit shot.
So often when we talk about rookies in this spot, we think about their positions instead of special teams. It’s not in line with the decisions the staff has to make for guys like this. If the Rams are going to keep a fifth-safety, it won’t be for his defensive proficiency. So I think Gervase is a legit option to bypass the practice squad and make the 53-man.
It’d be a hell of a story.
And we can be sure he’d work his ass off to make it happen.