Because 2020 is the way that it is, we haven’t been able to glean as much information that we normally would think we have in past offseasons. No rookie minicamps, no preseason games, delayed padded practices, limited information that the media knows and is able to report. So for many players their stock may have been more of a mystery than usual.
In the case of the Los Angeles Rams, there were a number of starting positions without confidently presumed starters and we knew it could take awhile for frontrunners to stop being backwalkers.
Through several weeks of preseason, some padded practices and a SoFi scrimmage, these would appear to be some differences in status.
Up: QB John Wolford
Wolford’s job was likely very safe as compared to the Rams two undrafted rookies but what’s more impressive is that he’s probably beaten out any potential free agent options and solidified himself as Jared Goff’s backup. Sean McVay compared him to Doug Flutie.
Down: RB - Darrell Henderson
It’s not so much that Henderson played himself down, he’s just missing valuable time and potentially Week 1 with a hamstring injury. I don’t want to necessarily say that the stock is “up” for Malcolm Brown or Cam Akers yet though. Just because they’ll get more opportunities, it doesn’t mean that the position is in good hands. Brown hasn’t had much success as a runner and Akers is untested. It doesn’t mean they can’t, it just means we don’t know much about them and training camp hasn’t produced a clear favorite.
Up: WR Nsimba Webster
Up: WR Van Jefferson
We don’t necessarily need to ding Josh Reynolds for it if it turns out that the Rams have two additional weapons at receiver. Webster seems to have taken his place as a return man and maybe even in certain situations on offense. Jefferson has a professional NFL receivers coach as a father and may have come into the league exceptionally prepared.
Up: G Joe Noteboom
Down: OL David Edwards
With Austin Blythe at center and Austin Corbett at one of the guard spots, it seems as though the fit McVay likes the best so far is the one with Noteboom on the left side and Corbett on the right. This could change, as could all the other reports. That’s similar to the stock market.
Up: LB Micah Kiser
Up: LB Travin Howard
Down: A number of other linebackers
Right now it would seem that the starting linebackers are Kiser, Howard, Leonard Floyd and Samson Ebukam. That would mean that Kenny Young, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Troy Reeder, Justin Lawler, Clay Johnston and Jachai Polite aren’t as likely to get many defensive snaps to open the season, if they make the team. The stock is up for undrafted free agent Christian Rozeboom, even if it just means he makes the team, which sounds possible.
Up: S Jordan Fuller
I think the stock is somewhat up for Terrell Burgess too, the reports are sounding good, but how could his role change much from what was expected? Though Taylor Rapp is missing some time now, I’d be surprised if it endangers his place on the defense for Week 1. On the other hand, sixth round picks are often fighting to get recognized and yet Fuller has been noted as impressive when playing with the 1s. Fuller seems to have a lock on a roster spot and he may even find a role on game days early on based on reports.
Up: CB Darious Williams
It certainly sounds like Williams could win a starting cornerback job over 2019 third round pick David Long. It’s not necessarily true at this point that Williams is in “the lead” for the job — it may be the neither player is yet. But Williams seems to have played well enough to be considered as a starter entering the season.
Up: K Lirim Hajrullahu
Down: K Sam Sloman
Really it seems as though all three kickers entered this competition as even money. And because they are kickers, the true “winners” may not be found out about until several more years down the line. Today’s perfect kick can easily turn into two missed PATs in one game tomorrow. But Hajrullahu would seem to be in the lead now and Sloman, one of only three kickers drafted this year, may end up in the free agent kicker cycle.