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Rams waive running back Xavier Jones, sign Trey Ragas

Yearly churn at the bottom of the roster has begun

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Rams
Trey Ragas becomes a Ram after playing against them last preseason
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Training camp roster churn has already begun for the Los Angeles Rams. The team announced Friday that second year running back Xavier Jones would be waived with an injury designation and Trey Ragas, an ex- Las Vegas Raider, would replace him on the training camp roster.

Jones was trying to comeback from a Grade 3 Achilles injury suffered last preseason. After a stellar senior season at SMU, he was signed by the Rams to a 2020 free agent contract and made LA’s opening roster, seeing action in 13 games. All his 178 snaps were on special teams.

Ragas spent 2021 in Las Vegas, active in one game. He had one carry for nine yards, two catches for six yards, and nine special teams snaps. He was released by the Raiders back in May.

Another camp body? Or can he offer the Rams more?

At first look, the move seems to be just replacing an injured player with another back to eat up training camp snaps, keeping the legs of Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson fresh for the regular season. But, Ragas is built completely different and brings along a totally separate skillset than the other Rams running backs.

To start, Ragas is a wide-bodied thumper. He’s a shade over 5’10” and weighs anywhere from 215 to 230 lbs, depending on which profile you read. He looks big on the field, particularly in the lower half with wide hips and big legs, creating the drive to break tackles and be a short yardage value.

He has experience running behind zone blocking schemes, but looks much better when he’s running downhill. Running parallel and making a one cut burst are not his strength, his forty time is in the 4.63/4.68 range with a 1.65 ten yard split. His athleticism is adequate. 7.15 3cone, 4.5 shuttle 33.5” vertical and 9’9” broad.

Ragas doesn’t have great speed or burst, but he does have light feet, stellar contact balance, and the vision to follow blockers. He falls forward and protects the football well. his college stats show zero fumbles. As a receiver, he didn’t get a lot of targets, but catches with his hands and quickly turns up field. His lower body strength and aggressive nature shows up in pass blocking

In his four years at UL Lafayette, Ragas was part of a three-headed rotational running attack, with current LA Ram Raymond Calais and Elijah Mitchell of the San Francisco 49ers. As the Ragin’ Cajun’s power element, he tallied 596 carries for 3572 yards, a six yard average and 38 touchdowns. He added 49 receptions for 427 yards and five touchdowns.

NCAA Football: UL Lafayette at Iowa State
Trey Ragas powers forward in win over Iowa State
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

In or out after final cuts

Akers and Henderson are locks. Funk’s athleticism, motor and special teams value essentially locks in RB3. Kyren Williams is out indefinitely, and his expected return, according to Head Coach Sean Mcvay, is “a few weeks away”. That is a lot of missed development time for a fifth round rookie. Calais is explosive and can return kicks, he remains on the bubble and in a roster battle with Brandon Powell as the primary kick returner.

Asim Rose is the nearest comparison, a little taller and leaner. Both are north-south, one-speed runners who do their best work inside, don’t seem to offer a lot of upside as receivers, and lack the sped to beat angles and get outside around the corner. Ragas gets the edge in ball security and pass blocking.

Ragas would need the Rams backs to have an injury-filled camp to get a real shot at making the roster. Maybe he could help LA in short yardage situations and he will certainly get plenty of action in the preseason games, but dispassionately, his ceiling is limited to the practice squad.