By now we should know that there is no “typical” NFL prospect, but Raymond Calais had to overcome a number of mundane — yet significant — obstacles to get from playing at Louisiana in the Sun Belt conference a year ago to being active for the LA Rams on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
With a different rookie running back mending an injury, Calais will serve as the number four option and potentially help on special teams.
The Rams have Calais and seventh round guard Tremayne Anchrum both active for the first time this season.
Here are the #Rams' inactive players for today's game (10 a.m., Channel 11) against the Bills in Buffalo:— Kevin Modesti (@KevinModesti) September 27, 2020
RB Cam Akers (rib injury)
WR Trishton Jackson
TE Brycen Hopkins
C Brian Allen
DL Eric Banks
So, RB Raymond Calais and OL Tremayne Anchrum are active for the first time.
With Cam Akers (ribs) out this week, the Rams will feature Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown (who had finger surgery on Monday), rookie undrafted free agent Xavier Jones and Calais.
After rushing for a modest 886 yards during his senior season — and he only entered with 959 career rushing yards previous to that with virtually no stats in the passing game — Calais was invited to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in January, which is where he had an impressive week of practice and then a 100-yard kickoff return in the game. That may have been what got Calais invited to the combine, where he ran a 4.42 40-yard dash (third fastest among running backs) and posted 20 reps on the bench.
That was enough for most teams in the league to show interest and eventually he was drafted in the seventh round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When the Jacksonville Jaguars released Leonard Fournette, that opened the door for Fournette to sign with the Bucs and push Calais to the practice squad at final cuts, which is when LA picked him up on waivers and added him to the final 53; a sign that there are huge Raymond Calais fans within the organization to give him a roster spot over anyone they saw in camp who got cut.
Calais was drafted four spots ahead of the Rams’ kicker today, Sam Sloman, and six spots ahead of Anchrum, who seems to have made the expected leap over Brian Allen on the level of importance. I don’t expect to see either get snaps on offense this week, but McVay will have the option in case.
The Bills have linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano active and rookie third round running back Zack Moss is inactive for the first time this season.