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Projecting the 2020 Rams lineup if all the backups had to start

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Where would LA theoretically turn to next if the starter had to immediately sit?

NFL: AUG 29 Preseason - Rams at Texans Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No NFL team is going to look “good” after you lay out a projected starting offense and defense featuring non-starters. If you took all the backups in the league or a conference, or even in a talented division, maybe you could lay out an exciting first string on your depth chart. But let’s not pretend like this thought experiment was supposed to lay out a quality team for game day.

That’s not what a starting lineup of non-starters, by definition, is meant to look like. If you’re comparing it to the starting lineup. But relative to other teams perhaps we can start to gauge the depth of the 2020 LA Rams.

We don’t know who will start for the Rams at quite a few positions next season, especially along the offensive line, but we did project a potential starting offense and defense using common sense and reader votes.

Using that, I made a starting offense and defense that simply could not include those players, to some degree. To cut corners though, I figured that few expect Josh Reynolds to get many targets as a WR3, so it would be plenty prudent to keep him as a new WR1 if the top two options were gone. Instead, I’ve used the 11th spot on offense for a “flex” that could be whoever the best remaining backup skill player is, in my rough estimation.

Similarly on defense, I’ve upgraded the nickel corner to a starting outside corner which would still be rather devastating for a team that would experience that large of a drop-off from Jalen Ramsey.

How would a potential Rams 2 lineup do?

We have to see it first:

Offense

QB - John Wolford

RB - Darrell Henderson

WR - Van Jefferson

WR - Josh Reynolds

TE - Gerald Everett

LT - Bobby Evans

LG - Joseph Noteboom

C - Brian Allen

RG - Tremayne Anchrum

RT - Chandler Brewer

Flex - Brycen Hopkins

Defense

DL - Morgan Fox

DL - Sebastian Joseph-Day

DL - Greg Gaines

LB - Terrell Lewis

LB - Kenny Young

LB - Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

CB - Darious Williams

FS - Terrell Burgess

SS - Jordan Fuller

CB - David Long

CB - Donte Deayon

If every team in the NFL had to immediately turn to a backup, quarterback is the first place we’d look for clues as to which teams would succeed. Who has the best backups? Is it someone like Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, Robert Griffin III, or Marcus Mariota? Maybe Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa? In any case, this is not a perceived strength for LA, as they have Wolford and two undrafted free agent rookies.

He at least will get an experienced receiving tight end in Everett and maybe one of the better RB2 options if Darrell Henderson finds the potential the team saw in him as a third round pick.

Things would look a lot different defensively without Aaron Donald, though there’s some potential talent in the linebacking unit. Which ironically is one of the major areas of concern because of the lost talent in that group from free agency and a lack of experience, but also maybe a potential strength given the perceived ceiling with some of these players.

And perhaps your lineup of backups would look much different than mine. If projecting starters is hard — and it is — then the backups get that much more murky. It would be helpful to hear some alternatives.

After all, this exercise is all about alternatives.