Training camp inspires hope in fans, players and franchises across the NFL. It’s a fresh start as the dream continues (TRADEMARK HEREIN) to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in six months.
Unfortunately, there are two sides to this coin.
For every For every player that pops out of the later rounds of the draft to become a superstar, there is an early draftee lying in waiting as a cautionary tale.
Every NFL franchise has it’s core and role players that they have committed to that have roster spots locked up. Toss in specialists and ‘core’ special teams players, and you’re realistically left with half of the 90-man roster competing for the last 10 spots on the roster.
This group usually includes upstart youngsters thirsty to prove themselves, recent late-round picks, and under-performing veterans.
The 2019 Los Angeles Rams are no exception.
WR Michael Thomas
Thomas just hasn’t found much footing in the NFL. In addition to having Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp entrenched as starters, Josh Reynolds has emerged as a legitimate option. Throw in JoJo Natson as the primary return man, and you’ve got a quintet essentially locked in.
That puts Thomas 6th-best on the depth chart. Normally those spots are reserved for either special teams stars or developmental players who wouldn’t clear waivers to make it to the practice squad.
I’m not sure Thomas falls in either of those categories.
EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
This one is a little bolder, but it boils down to health. If Okoronkwo is truly over the foot injury that made him redshirt as a rookie, he could be an impact player for the Rams. If he’s not, the Rams may choose to move on.
His absence from the last few training camp practices raises the legitimacy of concerns.
OL Aaron Neary
Neary won’t count against the Roster for the first four games of the season due to his suspension; that might spell the end of his time with the Rams. There will undoubtedly be a veteran OL who unexpectedly is looking for a job in a few weeks. The Rams aren’t above signing seasoned veterans along the offensive line (see: Whitworth, Andrew and Sullivan, John).
Let’s see how this next week of preparatory practices and preseason action re-shapes things on the razor’s edge of the roster bubble.