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2019 preseason Week 3 Los Angeles Rams depth chart review, 53-man roster projection

We’re halfway through the preseason. Here’s how 3k sees the 53-man roster shaping up.

Los Angeles Rams OL Aaron Neary looks on from the field before the Rams’ 2019 preseason Week 2 game against the Dallas Cowboys at Aloha Stadium, Aug. 17, 2019.
Los Angeles Rams OL Aaron Neary looks on from the field before the Rams’ 2019 preseason Week 2 game against the Dallas Cowboys at Aloha Stadium, Aug. 17, 2019. Folks, if you had him in your initial 53-man roster projection, you were wrong. Dead wrong!
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Forget the pleasantries. Let’s get to it.

Previous projections

QB (2)

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

Really, this comes down to whether the Los Angeles Rams want to spend a practice squad spot on a quarterback. Last year, the Rams went with Allen on the 53-man roster and former Rams QB Luis Perez on the practice squad. With Bortles at QB2 instead of former Rams backup QB Sean Mannion, I’m not sure the Rams need to roster a third QB.

RB (4)

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

This one is starting to offer more confidence, though the question of whether Davis offers more on special teams than Kelly still looms. And looms with importance.

WR (6)

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

I’m sticking with Thomas over Hodge at WR5. I think the Rams could value wide receiver skills there over special teams right now, and the snap counts for Thomas line up. The final two weeks of this preseason could be a decisive two performances here though.

TE/FB (3)

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

Tempted to go Blanton over Mundt here, but holding off for a week. Tough to know what the coaches are looking for, too. Blocking? Receiving? Power? Hands? Special teams?

OL (8)

In: Andrew Whitworth, Rob Havenstein, Joseph Noteboom, Brian Allen, Austin Blythe, Bobby Evans (rookie), David Edwards (rookie), Jeremiah Kolone
Out: Jamil Demby, Chandler Brewer (UDFA), Vitas Hrynkiewicz (UDFA), Brandon Hitner (UDFA), Matt Kaskey (UDFA)
Suspended: Aaron Neary
Changes from last projection: Neary SUSPENDED, Kolone IN, Demby OUT

Ok, I’ll go for it.

Demby has struggled. Rams Head Coach Sean McVay admitted as much on Tuesday. So at this point, he could be headed for a practice squad spot. That might offer Kolone a shot at the IOL depth slot.

And I’ve had Neary in there even though he’s suspended for the four games and won’t count against the 53, so let’s take him out of the projection.

DL (6)

In: Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Sebastian Joseph-Day, John Franklin-Myers, Greg Gaines (rookie), Morgan Fox
Out: Tanzel Smart, Bryant Jones (UDFA), Marquise Copeland (UDFA), Boogie Roberts (UDFA)
Changes from last projection: N/A

Copeland and Roberts played a ton in Week 2, but that may have been more out of free agency opportunity than interest herein.

LB (9)

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

This is the toughest one on the roster with the depth. The Kiser injury changes things, though I think that might reflect more in how Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips structures things than a simple Hager for Kiser substitution.

The injury also reinforces McVay’s hesitance in playing starting-caliber players. Kiser wasn’t headed for anything near 100% of the defensive snaps, but even starting-adjacent players have huge value. Sorting this out is maybe the hardest effort heading toward the

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

I know the current push is for the outside talent, but I don’t see the Rams rostering three outside cornerbacks for depth. I think the likelier option is someone to backup NRC with special teams capability. And I’m still tagging Hatfield there.

S (6)

In: John Johnson III, Eric Weddle, Taylor Rapp (rookie), Marqui Christian, Nick Scott (rookie), Travin Howard
Out: Steven Parker
Changes from last projection: N/A

Feeling better here, though Parker would be a practice squad lock.

ST (3)

In: Greg Zuerlein, Johnny Hekker, Jake McQuaide
Out: Miller Brock

FF >>

So me finally getting around to the Neary suspension allowed a spot. I’ll give it to the linebackers both for performance but also talent level at the starting tier.

The difficulty here is to overvalue the preseason action (which we know) and undervalue the practice action (which we don’t). That balance is hard to get right from the outside, which leaves us biased in favor of what we see in preseason action. Between snap counts and public questioning, we can at least try to make up the difference.

Week 3 offers the most sincere action of the preseason while Week 4 is roster/tape friendly.

Here we go.