When discussing under the radar players, it’s probably important to consider your audience.
If this list were for casual NFL fans parsing the 2019 Los Angeles Rams’ roster, we would put names like S John Johnson III and RT Rob Havenstein near the top. For this list though, we’re assuming that the average Turf Show Times reader is pretty familiar with the roster so we can dig a bit deeper. Included on this list are players that may or may not have shined in training camp and may be more productive than expected in whatever role they appear in.
S Taylor Rapp
Where as rookie cornerback David Long, Jr. appeared a bit small at times during camp, Rapp already has NFL size and seemed to be really comfortable during the Rams’ scrimmages against the Los Angeles Chargers. He’ll likely be used sparingly at first with S Eric Weddle and Johnson already penciled in as the starting safeties. However, it will be interesting to see whether Rapp is able to absorb some of Marqui Christian’s hybrid safety/linebacker duties; last season Christian seemed quite capable so that would be a feat as a rookie.
Wherever Rapp finds snaps though, he appears to be NFL ready. It seems reasonable to expect a solid contribution from him, even in his rookie season.
EDGE Trevon Young
Like Rapp, there are players currently ahead of Young who is entering his second year after being taken in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. In his rookie season, Young saw very limited action, but he has been very active in camp and has exploited second-team left tackles throughout. He has excelled as a pass rusher, against the run, and in coverage, which makes him hard to ignore. He certainly will be playing behind EDGE Dante Fowler, Jr., and LB Clay Matthews and even Samson Ebukam. I will say though, he looks to be nearing Ebukam’s level in practices despite Ebukam certainly having more experience on the defensive side.
There’s no telling if Young will crack the rotation, but I think if he does that he’ll be a pleasant surprise.
WR Josh Reynolds
So far in camp, Reynolds has been able to blend right in with starters in WR Robert Woods, WR Cooper Kupp and WR Brandin Cooks. After gaining valuable experience following Kupp’s ACL injury last season, Reynolds has become a legitimate target for QB Jared Goff. His size offers a dimension to the offense that
could has come in handy on third downs and in the red zone.
C Brian Allen
Gauging from Rams Twitter, Allen seemed like the least celebrated of the Rams’ new crop of sophomore starters entering this season. After watching him work though, I’ve gotta say, he seems like a potential upgrade from last season’s iteration of John Sullivan. Allen is a truly fierce competitor, he’s calling out defenses, and he seems like a guy that wants to be the captain up front.
The guy is straight up feisty.
Allen was the only player I noticed pointing at Chargers defensive lineman and yelling to the officials about infractions. He’s just gonna be super unpleasant to play against and really great if he’s on your side. If the Rams end up filtering 2019 NFL Draft picks in OL Bobby Evans and OT David Edwards onto the line next season, the group will need an anchor.
Allen has the personality to be that guy.
NT Sebastian Joseph-Day
I think most of us assumed 2019 fourth-round selection Greg Gaines would get the nod as the team’s starting nose tackle, but so far Joseph-Day seems way more polished and has clearly been working on his craft. He’s taller than Gaines, but he’s a bit bottom-heavy. At 310 pounds, he won’t be easy to push out of the box. Just watching practice, Defensive Line Coach Eric Henderson seemed really enthused by Joseph-Day’s technique during drills whereas the rookie Gaines still appeared to need to work on his sequences beyond his initial push. We’ll see who emerges down the line, but right now Joseph-Day is looking like a potential sixth-round steal.
EDGE Morgan Fox
You know what? I’m including Morgan Fox on this list.
Last season, he was expected to compete for a starting position before suffering an ACL tear during OTAs. That was because the guy can actually generate some heat off the edge.
He stayed the course providing a good pass rush against the Chargers during scrimmages. It will be interesting to see what he does during the preseason. I don’t know where he’ll ultimately end up on the depth chart, but I do think that he will fly under the radar and provide a pretty similar pass rush to some to of the guys that we might assume will be ahead of him on the depth chart.