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Recently-drafted Rams who might not make the final roster this year

It’s crunch time for some players picked by Les Snead in the draft

NFL: Los Angeles Rams OTA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams have a lot to figure out with their depth during Friday night’s second preseason contest against the Houston Texans. We should get a better look at most of the players fighting for the final few roster spots and some of them will be recent draft picks competing against undrafted free agents and veterans.

Sean McVay and Les Snead hate to give up on anyone who was selected by the team in the draft. Could any of these players end up going to the practice squad or being picked up on waivers after the next two rounds of cuts?

WR Jacob Harris

Lance McCutcheon’s ascension could spell out the reasons why Jacob Harris may have run out of roles he can serve on L.A.’s roster. The fact that Harris has missed so much time and is questionable to play in the preseason only exacerbates his issues, none of which are bigger than his lack of experience...which he wasn’t adding to until recently returning to practice.

Harris was drafted in the fourth round last year as a total project and the team opted to move him to tight end. Okay, not a bad idea and worth a shot. But 15 months later, the Rams coaching staff decided to move him back to receiver (of which he can only be an outside receiver, so no versatility in the slot) and that means hours of study on in-line blocking techniques and “how to play tight end” were mostly all for naught.

That was a risk that McVay knew he was taking so again it’s not like there’s anyone to “blame” here. I appreciate what Snead was trying to do with the pick, I appreciate how difficult it would have been to turn Harris into a starting NFL tight end (one of the game’s hardest positions), and I appreciate the learning curve that Harris has had to go through. This has nothing to do with a lack of appreciation for the degree of difficulty and the potential payoff. This is merely an observation:

The Rams only have so many wide receivers that they can keep. Harris is the least experienced of all of them—by a lot. His particular position is blocked by at least Allen Robinson, Ben Skowronek, and McCutcheon. And his injury opened the door for the possibility to see McCutcheon and even Austin Trammell.

Would another NFL team pickup Harris on waivers? Maybe. But that’s not a guarantee and Harris could still end up back on waivers later this season. If Harris appears in the preseason and shows out a few times like McCutcheon, then the debate could lean more in his favor again.

S Quentin Lake

He’s spent training camp on PUP. I would have to assume that the Rams hope to keep Lake with an injury designation. If he has to pass through waivers to make it on the practice squad, I don’t see that as an issue. Maybe there’s a team out there that really liked Lake and is currently concerned about their safety depth but he hasn’t improved his stock at all because he hasn’t practiced.

DB Russ Yeast

If L.A. had not drafted three defensive backs ahead of him, Yeast could be in a better position to make the roster. He was a starter last week and perhaps he has a more equal shot to Derion Kendrick and Decobie Durant than I am currently projecting. I could be wrong!

But the narrative usually coming out of camp is that Kendrick and Durant are slightly ahead in the race and we know that the Rams also have four other cornerbacks who they’re 100-percent going to keep. Even Tyler Hall and Grant Haley could be ahead of Yeast. The next two preseason games should clear that up some more.

OT Bobby Evans

OT A.J. Arcuri

Two tackles drafted three years apart, with Evans as a third rounder and Arcuri as a seventh rounder. We have not heard much from Arcuri, so it would be shocking if he got picked up by another team.

As a fourth-year offensive tackle who was a day two pick in 2019, Evans is less likely to make it through waivers even though he’s never really shined during his time with the Rams. Teams have taken chances on lesser offensive linemen because the position is so shallow.

S Terrell Burgess

Snead quadrupled down on defensive backs in the draft this year, but his double-down in 2020 paid off because Jordan Fuller turned out to be a much better pick than the safety who went three rounds earlier. Burgess and Fuller got off to near equal starts as rookies, it seemed, but Fuller pulled ahead and then just as Burgess was getting playing time that’s when he got hurt.

It seems he’s never been able to recover any positive momentum he had as a rookie and the depth at corner and safety now would seem to imply that Burgess is playing for a roster spot more than he ever has had to before.

I still think the numbers are in Burgess’s favor, it just depends if someone like Dan Isom, T.J. Carter, or Jairon McVea could be doing enough to impress the staff as undrafted free agent rookies. Adding a safety outside of the team is another possibility.

EDGE Chris Garrett

Garrett has missed a lot of time with a groin injury and won’t play on Friday. With Daniel Hardy apparently playing well enough to push for a roster spot, Garrett’s losing ground and a good bet to make it through waivers and onto the practice squad.

Earnest Brown IV

It could be the toughest position on the team for a player in Brown’s position to make it through, even if he’s had a sack in the preseason already.

The Rams only need to keep so many defensive linemen and they know who three of those guys are going to be. The competition behind the big three is up in the air and Brown’s status as a 2021 fifth round pick doesn’t give him an advantage over players like Michael Hoecht, Jonah Williams, or Marquise Copeland, all of whom have more regular season experience with the Rams.