Los Angeles Rams football is back and on Saturday night the defending champions defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 29-22 at SoFi Stadium. It was the first game back inside SoFi since the Rams won the Super Bowl and while the starters did not suit up, the chance to evaluate role players was on display.
After Saturday night’s performance, standouts like Bryce Perkins and Landon McCutcheon elevated their stock. Will it be enough to make the final 53-man roster? After one week of preseason football, here is a final roster projection with a surprising number of wideouts to make it past final cuts.
- QUARTERBACKS (3)
Matthew Stafford, John Wolford, Bryce Perkins
The main question for the quarterbacks room is whether Los Angeles wants to keep two or three. Last year, Perkins was kept on the roster. His solid performance against the Chargers tonight should find him on the final roster again. Expect the Rams to protect him, not allowing other teams to poach him off their practice squad.
- RUNNING BACKS (4)
Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, Jake Funk, Kyren Williams
Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson are safe. Jake Funk likely has the third string spot locked up (for now) because he has a year of experience, and he is heavily relied upon for special-teams protection and coverage. Kyren Williams will likely see preseason action once he is up to speed after a foot injury in Organized Team Activities. As a fifth rounder from this year, it is unlikely LA will part with him.
- WIDE RECEIVERS (8)
Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson II, Tutu Atwell, Van Jefferson, Jacob Harris, Lance McCutcheon, Ben Skowronek, Brandon Powell
How many will they keep? That is the magic question. The roster locks are: Kupp, Robinson, Atwell, and Jefferson. The remaining options all have unique attributes that the team values significantly. Harris and McCutcheon are highly regarded for their height and ability to go up and make contest catches. McCutcheon’s star performance (5 rec, 87 yards, 2 TDs with a 2-point conversion catch) against the Chargers will be hard to ignore. Skowronek is a core special teams player and provides value as a run-blocking wide receiver. Powell will likely be the kick returner, but reports have emphasized that he has been a topic of conversation for the wide receivers.
- TIGHT ENDS (3)
Tyler Higbee, Kendall Blanton, Brycen Hopkins
No surprises here. Blanton and Hopkins will be the backups to Higbee. It would take a lot for undrafted free agents Roger Carter Jr, Jamal Pettigrew, and Jared Pickney to make the roster.
- OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
Joseph Noteboom, David Edwards, Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton, Robert Havenstein, Logan Bruss, AJ Jackson, Tremayne Anchrum, Bobby Evans
Sean McVay indicated midway through training camp that Coleman Shelton was separating himself at the right guard position; locking himself in with Noteboom, Edwards, Allen, and Havenstein. The Rams third round pick, Bruss, is safe. LA is high on Jackson; who received a favorable signing bonus after the 2021 draft and played admirably against Minnesota in Week 16. I have Anchrum and Evans grabbing the final two spots.
- DEFENSIVE LINE (5)
Aaron Donald, A’Shawn Robinson, Greg Gaines, Marquise Copeland, Michael Hoecht
Won’t count against 53: Bobby Brown III (*Reserve/Suspended list*)
The defensive line is led by 3x Defensive Player of the Year, Aaron Donald. Robinson and Gaines will be the starters alongside him. Behind them, the depth is a huge unknown at this point. Bobby Brown III’s six-game suspension complicates the situation, not to mention he suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter of the first preseason matchup. Michael Hoecht made the 53-man roster last year and went on to play in all 17 regular season games. Because of the need for a rotation at nose tackle, Hoecht will beat out Jonah Williams and Earnest Brown IV.
Bobby Brown III is being helped off with an apparent ankle injury. As a reminder — he is suspended for the first 6 games of the regular season for PED’s.— Rams Brothers (@RamsBrothers) August 14, 2022
Hope he’s ok. Had some good reps prior to getting hurt.
- INSIDE LINEBACKERS (3)
Bobby Wagner, Ernest Jones, Travin Howard
A short list here. Wagner and Jones will start. Travin Howard is nursing a groin injury, but he would be next in line. If he lands on the IR to start the year, Christian Rozeboom or Jake Hummel would be the replacement option.
- EDGE RUSHERS (5)
Leonard Floyd, Justin Hollins, Terrell Lewis, Daniel Hardy, Keir Thomas
This is where I predict a UDFA roster surprise. With Chris Garrett set to miss multiple weeks with a groin injury, Los Angeles can’t afford a lack of depth. Keir Thomas gets the nod for now after a promising preseason start; recording two solo tackles, one TFL, and two QB hits.
- CORNERBACKS (6)
Jalen Ramsey, Troy Hill, David Long Jr, Robert Rochell, Cobie Durant, Derion Kendrick
Ramsey, Hill, and Long Jr are listed as the starters on the unofficial depth chart. Rochell, Durant, and Kendrick have all played well in training camp.
- SAFETIES (4)
Jordan Fuller, Nick Scott, Taylor Rapp, Terrell Burgess
Terrell Burgess did not help his case Saturday night, allowing a big-time touchdown play. I still don’t think any of the other safeties are ready to supplant him. Scott appears to have earned a promotion as a starter. Fuller and Rapp are fighting for the other safety spot, mainly because of Fuller’s ankle injury at the end of last year affecting his full health and availability early on in camp.
...and the broadcast shows the replay. That is definitely on Terrell Burgess. Disappointing for a player that needs to take a step up this year.— DOWNTOWN RAMS [DTR] (@DowntownRams) August 14, 2022
- SPECIAL TEAMS (3)
Matt Gay, Riley Dixon, Matt Orzech
No debate as to who the kicker is. That will be Matt Gay. As for the punter, Dixon has past ties with Joe DeCamillis and as the veteran I think he will beat out dual threat, Cameron Dicker. Matt Orzech returns for year two as LA’s long snapper.
Next week versus the Houston Texans provides another opportunity to add to the resume or reshape coaches’ opinions. I’ll be sure to share another projection after Week 2. Until then, embrace the reality - football is back!
Who should have been on the 53-man roster projection?
This poll is closed
Jack Snyder, iOL
Raymond Calais, RB
AJ Arcuri, OT
Earnest Brown IV, DL
Chris Garrett, Edge
Grant Haley, CB