The Los Angeles Rams are wrapping things up for the 2019 preseason against the Houston Texans tonight in what will largely be an effort to evaluate the back half of the 90-man roster ahead of Saturday’s deadline to reduce it down to a 53-man roster.
So with this set to be a bit unusual compared to both preceding contests and those upcoming in the regular season, here are five players I’ll be keeping a close eye on tonight:
S Nick Scott
Snead said that Penn State safety Nick Scott was one of John Fassel’s favorite special teams players ever.— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) April 27, 2019
So while we should certainly take his safety play into account, it’s his special teams work that’s most relevant right now for his immediate NFL future.
S Jake Gervase
Speaking of special teams-specific safeties, how about Gervase? He’s led the entire 90-man roster in special teams snaps, something I forecasted back in mid-July in his roster preview:
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.
Certainly feels like much less of a long shot now given how much work he’s gotten on teams.
LB Dakota Allen
The Rams’ final pick of the 2019 draft, Allen’s story jumped out ahead of his skill set thanks to the heavily watched Netflix show Last Chance U in the second season of which Allen had a standout role. Since then though, his play both in training camp and throughout the preseason has elevated him beyond just the celebrity of the show.
The linebacking depth chart is teeming with candidates to step up especially with season-ending injuries to ILB Micah Kiser (lost to a pec injury) and EDGE Josh Carraway (lost to an Achilles tear). I wouldn’t be surprised at all if a good showing tonight (especially with some positive special teams tape) helps secure him a spot on the 53-man.
WR Nsimba Webster
The latest of many wide receivers to soak up fan attention this preseason, the Lion King heads into game 4 perhaps with more to prove than some of his peers in WR Mike Thomas, WR KhaDarel Hodge or WR/KR/PR JoJo Natson, Jr.
While I don’t think Webster has much of a shot on the 53, I definitely could see him landing on the practice squad. But with all the other cuts coming at wide receiver, I don’t know that there’s much room beyond one candidate. Tonight could help Webster be that one wide receiver on the 10-man practice squad.
LB Ketner Kupp
Does he have a shot at the practice squad? We’re going to see tonight. I’d expect Rams WR Cooper Kupp’s younger brother to get quite a bit of time both on defense and with the special teams units.
No doubt he’s a long shot to remain around past Saturday, but I wouldn’t count it out of the realm of possibility.