Donte Deayon isn’t going away easily. The Rams cornerback went undrafted out of Boise State in 2016 and thus far he has only appeared in 11 NFL games — eight with the Giants, three with the Rams — and he’s recorded 19 tackles with three passes defensed over 252 career defensive and 70 career special teams snaps.
Will his sixth attempt to make an NFL roster be the one where the stars finally align in just the right way?
New practice squad rules allow teams to carry two veterans who have any number of accrued seasons and that could mean that players like Deayon will extend their careers well beyond what was previously possible. He may not make seven figures, but that doesn’t sound like a bad job — or bad pay — for those who fit the bill as strong in practice, good teammates, but maybe not quite stout enough for Sundays.
Or maybe Deayon will make it in a year in which cornerback experience on the roster is scarce anyway.
Deayon returns and he was one of 15 players on the practice squad as of 1/1/2021:
The only players who don’t appear to still be around are linebacker Jachai Polite and defensive back Tyrique McGhee. Will any of the other 13 make it over the hurdle to become members of the final 53-man roster in September?
Donte Deayon, CB
Deayon, 27, first joined the Rams in December of 2018, so this will be his third training camp under Sean McVay. Not that it is a fair comp, because Troy Hill played a lot of snaps prior to becoming a regular, but that didn’t really happen to him until he was 27. And Hill didn’t become a true every-snap player until last season.
Nobody doubts Deayon’s confidence or personality, but he’s listed around the same weight as new teammate Tutu Atwell.
Marquise Copeland, DT
Copeland, 24, was signed by the Rams following the 2019 draft and so this is also his third training camp with McVay. Barring injury, it could be difficult to crack LA’s roster as a defensive lineman this season following the picks of Bobby Brown and Earnest Brown, but the losses of Michael Brockers and Morgan Fox should open opportunities.
Jake Gervase, FS
Gervase will turn 26 in December. This is his third training camp with McVay also. He’s made a few sparse appearances on special teams over the last two seasons and LA’s current situation at safety is crowded, but opportunities seem to be there.
Jonah Williams, DE
An All-American at Weber State in 2019, Williams signed with the Rams after going undrafted last year. He was listed at 6’5, 280, with a 4.65 40-yard dash at his pro day, which was sparsely attended. He could compete to fill the Fox role.
Michael Hoecht, DT
Another signee from the 2020 undrafted free agent pool, Hoecht reportedly ran a 4.6 at 310 lbs (or maybe up to 20 lbs less than that) and he hung around the roster as a practice squad player last season. Hoecht played at Brown.
Derrick Moncrief, LB
A surprise activation against the Dolphins last season (played 15 special teams snaps), Moncrief went undrafted out of Oklahoma State in 2017 (his third college program) and played in the CFL for three years. He had a brief stint on the Raiders practice squad and so this will be his first full offseason as a member of the Rams. Moncrief turns 28 this month.
Austin MacGinnis, K
He was competing to be the kicker last year and ultimately lost out to Sam Sloman. The team never turned to MacGinnis, instead signing Kai Forbath, then Matt Gay, who is likely to keep him on the practice squad this year, at best. But it’s the story we don’t really talk about: What if Gay struggles? The kicker position is far from settled, though Gay looked the part for most of his trial run in 2020.
Kendall Blanton, TE
Blanton’s father Jerry was a linebacker for the Chiefs from 1979 to 1985. Kendall, 25, is going into his third Rams training camp and is hoping to surprise somebody like Johnny Mundt by making the final roster. Given the way that the team has talked up Jacob Harris already, it seems that the team might need to keep four tight ends in order to give Blanton a real shot.
Bryce Perkins, QB
Similar to the kicking competition, the Rams backup QB competition didn’t have any heavy hitters last year. That included Perkins, an undrafted free agent out of Virginia, but he did win the job on the practice squad. Is there any chance that John Wolford won’t be the backup or that Perkins will be so good that the team must keep three? He also must beat out Devlin Hodges, a player who had multiple starts for the Steelers two years ago.
Christian Rozeboom, LB
Rozeboom was an undrafted free agent in 2020 who “beat out” seventh rounder Clay Johnston for a spot on LA’s practice squad and a shot at making the team some day. The Rams have a lot of linebackers going into camp and maybe every spot is up for grabs except for Leonard Floyd’s. All Rozeboom has to do is win one.
J.J. Koski, WR
Another 2020 undrafted free agent, Koski was a four-year starter at Pomona State and he caught 42 passes for 868 yards and eight touchdowns during his senior campaign. The 6’1, 195 lbs receiver hung on the Rams practice squad but he has a tall order to beat out anybody for the fifth or sixth wideout spot on the roster. He’d need to be undeniable on special teams.
Brandon Wright, P
We know about Johnny Hekker and we’ve talked about Corey Bojorquez, but there is a third punter on the roster: Brandon Wright came out of Georgia State in 2020 and actually went 1-of-2 on extra points for the Jaguars last season. (Yes, Jacksonville was the worst team in the NFL.) Brandon Wright being the Rams punter for any reason other than injuries would be the most shocking outcome of the offseason.
Eric Banks, DE
Banks was signed after the 2020 draft but that didn’t stop him from working at a Pet and Lawn Supply story last summer. He hung around on the practice squad all year long and the 6’4, 270 lb defensive lineman is also hoping that Fox’s departure is his gain.
Which of these players is most likely to make the LA Rams final roster this season?
This poll is closed
CB Donte Deayon
LB Christian Rozeboom
DE Eric Banks
DT Michael Hoecht
WR JJ Koski
LB Derrick Moncrief
K Austin MacGinnis
P Brandon Wright
QB Bryce Perkins
S Jake Gervase
TE Kendall Blanton
DE Jonah Williams
DT Marquise Copeland