As we know, Los Angeles Rams training camp at UC Irvine is right around the corner, beginning with the rookies on July 25 and the veterans on July 27. In OTAs, several players stood out to head coach Sean McVay and the staff, but this is the time when the players can impress the coaches the most. When the pads come on and live contact is being made, that’s when you can get a real feel for where the players are at.
It’s inevitable to believe we know how most of the roster is going to pan out at the end, but there are certain players who may be unknown to most fans now that could defy the odds to make the final 53.
Here is my list of players who could surprise, starting with an undrafted rookie defensive back out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Brontae Harris, CB
The Rams love them some DBs from UAB as Harris joins a secondary with star-studded DB Darious Williams. Harris plays similarly to Williams as their pursuit to the ball is second to none. After missing the entire 2019 season at UAB with a foot injury, Harris came back as a redshirt senior to earn second-team all-conference USA. The ball instincts are there and he was one of the players who was impressing during OTAs.
I spoke with Harris a few weeks ago and he had mentioned to me that he and defensive coordinator, Raheem Morris, speak every day. The staff saw improvements each day and told him to just keep working. Harris also mentioned that the defensive staff loves his aggression and that a move to nickel could be in the works during camp. He could unquestionably earn a role there as the Rams look to replace CB Troy Hill after his departure to the Cleveland Browns in free agency.
Incredibly smart and talented interception from Brontae Harris here.— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) October 18, 2020
I’m so glad he’s back. pic.twitter.com/djvF97Rdnx
Christian Rozeboom, LB
This past year, fans all thought it would be Clay Johnston who would be the linebacker to eventually earn a spot with Los Angeles but it looks like it could be the LB out of South Dakota State, Christian Rozeboom. The LB group is certainly the most unproven room out of all the position groups on the Rams so he has the perfect shot to make a name for himself here in camp. At SDSU, he led the Jackrabbits in tackles all four years that he played. He was also selected to play in the NFLPA collegiate bowl. McVay kept him on the practice squad the entirety of the 2020 season meaning they see the value in what he brings to the table.
In an interview with the gridiron crew, Rozeboom was asked what separates you from the other pro prospects at the position and this was his response:
I think my mental ability to process the game is big for me. I make quick decisions and play instinctually. I also try to play at one speed every play, and get to the ball relentlessly.
A relentless finisher to the ball is what the Rams need from the LB position. A player who can play sideline to sideline on every down and play with their hair on fire is something they’ve been missing for a few years now. Rozeboom could surprise on the final roster but expect LB Micah Kiser and Travin Howard to be the starters for Week 1.
Christian Rozeboom has been looking super fast, explosive and very strong. ( @RamsNFL IG) pic.twitter.com/98bXOGm3Lz— HoldenCantor (@HoldenCantor) August 26, 2020
Paris Ford, S
A fan favorite at the University of Pittsburgh and a player who Aaron Donald pounded the table for him to be signed during the undrafted free agent signing period. It was a surprise when Ford went undrafted because his whole college career he was thought to be at the very least a mid-round pick. Ford’s tape is full of highlights as he’s recorded six interceptions in the past two years. The film doesn't lie and by just watching the tape, he is a ballhawk seen all over the field.
PARIS FORD TO THE LOS ANGELES RAMS— Dak Prescott Stan (@mryane69) May 2, 2021
YOU GOT A GREAT ONE @RamsNFL pic.twitter.com/5Dkalmvlld
Donald mentioned in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he has already been hearing good things about how he was doing in OTAs.
Who might you see keeping these players from making the roster at their current position groups or on special teams?