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Los Angeles Rams preseason week one: Stock up, stock down

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Week one of the preseason has come and gone. Let’s take a look at which players are trending in the right direction, and which are headed downward.

Los Angeles Rams v Oakland Raiders Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images

Week one of the preseason has come and gone, and just like in 2018, the Los Angeles Rams elected to rest all of their starting players — sans nose tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day and inside linebacker Micah Kiser.

With that being the case, a lot of young players, undrafted free agents, and fringe roster guys got the chance to show their skills on an NFL level for the first time.

Let’s take a look at who made the stock report this week:

Stock Down

OL Bobby Evans

Evans — like most of the offensive lineman in the game — swapped across the line playing multiple positions, ranging from left tackle to right tackle to interior offensive lineman. Evans was struggling with speed in particular, though it was only his first NFL game action. Evans was the earlier draft pick of the two between himself and David Edwards, though he was outplayed by Edwards in week one.

TE Johnny Mundt

Mundt was the starting tight end as he’s likely the current third-string tight end on the roster. Simply put, he wasn’t good. Mundt was targeted four times and only reeled in one reception for 23 yards, dropping at least one pass that hit him right in the hands. If any of the other tight ends on the roster below Mundt show some positives, Mundt could be on the roster bubble.

QB Brandon Allen

Allen has been with the Rams for two preseasons now, and unfortunately for both Allen and the Rams, he has yet to stand out in any positive manner. In 2018, Allen was outplayed by former backup QB Sean Mannion, and thus far has been outplayed by undrafted free agent QB John Wolford.

EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

Obgo continues to miss practices and games by way of injury. If you can’t play, you can’t make the roster. For a day three draft pick, Ogbo continues to trend in the wrong direction. If he can get playing time — or even practice time — he could begin to climb the depth chart, though that seems far fetched at this point.

Stock Up

WR KhaDarel Hodge

Another preseason, another chance for Hodge to show out. After going undrafted in 2018, the small-school receiver has done everything needed to stand out in an absolutely loaded receiver room. No, Hodge won’t factor into major playing time in 2019 — barring injury — though he is once again starting to put together a campaign which should keep him in Los Angeles.

NT Greg Gaines

Gaines didn’t even show up on the stat sheet, and yet he still had a very solid performance as the second-team nose tackle. Sebastian Joseph-Day kicked off the festivities with the starters, though it was evident Gaines was the more impactful player. Gaines routinely found himself in the backfield of the Raiders on running plays, and had a pass rush or two that netted a solid result. The gap between Gaines and SJD should be closing after their performances in week one of the preseason.

FS Taylor Rapp

Rapp is a football player, simply put. The Rams used him as a subpackage linebacker majority of the game as he lined up next to both ILB Micah Kiser and ILB Bryce Hager. The touchdown run from the Raiders wasn’t a great rep for either of Kiser or Rapp, though Rapp made sure to wash that rep out of the memory real quick with an otherwise solid performance. A pass breakup on 3rd-and-long and an open field tackle on 3rd-and-medium showed Rapp’s versatility.

CB Darious Williams

The secondary might be the deepest position on the Rams’ roster, and ironically enough, it was the under-the-radar Williams who made his name known in the week one contest. The Rams invested rather significant draft capital in backup cornerbacks in safeties, though the star of the unit was a surprise candidate. Williams was in great coverage nearly all game, made multiple plays on the ball, and led the team with six solo tackles.

QB John Wolford

Have the Rams found a potential future backup quarterback? Wolford — who was a star in the AAF — joined the Rams once the league folded, looking for a chance to make an NFL roster. And while his odds were very long, he absolutely made a statement in his first NFL action. Wolford was decisive, quick to read his progressions, accurate with his passes, and created plays outside of the pocket and out of structure. Wolford looks eons better than Brandon Allen and could very well work his way into a third quarterback role (whether that’s on the 53-man roster or practice squad).