Now that the preseason is complete for the Los Angeles Rams, the front office and coaching staff will have some difficult decisions to make. Getting down to the 53-man roster won’t be easy and that seems to especially the case this year.
However, for players that don’t make the 53-man roster, the practice squad is still an opportunity to be on a NFL team. The NFL allows teams 16 players on their practice squad and there are no longer “accrued seasons” rules for teams to follow. That means any player is eligible for the practice squad.
The Rams will have plenty of practice squad candidates to choose from.
As a note, players like Keir Thomas, AJ Arcuri, Lance McCutcheon, etc. are not included on this list as I predict they will make the initial 53-man roster. If they don’t make the roster, they would most certainly be in contention for the practice squad if they clear waivers.
Additionally, of the 16 potential spots, I’m only listing 13 players, including Max Pircher who doesn’t count. This would give the Rams four openings to add players that are cut from other rosters.
OL Chandler Brewer
It will be interesting to see if the Rams keep Chandler Brewer. He’s spent much of the last three years on the practice squad, sitting out one year due to COVID. The Rams have invested a lot of time in him. However, it doesn’t seem like he’s developed exactly where they need him to be.
Against the Cincinnati Bengals Brewer got beat on a play that led to a strip-sack of Perkins. However, he does bring guard/tackle versatility which is something that the Rams will value. That’s good depth to stash on the practice squad, especially as Brewer knows the system.
DL Earnest Brown IV
The Rams drafted Earnest Brown IV in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. However, he was cut and spent last year on the practice squad. After being a fifth round pick, it would be odd if he was put on the practice squad again, but it shouldn’t be ruled out.
Brown is a versatile player who can play all over the defensive line. After spending last year on the practice squad, it’s unlikely that he would get claimed. The Rams can keep a player that they drafted in their system and continue to develop him.
FB/TE Roger Carter
The Rams have clearly liked Roger Carter for awhile. Prior to the draft, he was a player that they met with before signing him as an undrafted free agent. He brings ability as a hybrid h-back tight end that can contribute on special teams. Unfortunately for this year, the numbers likely just won’t work.
Highlights: Rams TE Roger Carter Jr. with the scoop & score after forced fumble on Texans punt return!#hulabowl player!#hulabowl #player #football #NFL #nflfootball #LArams #Texans @RamsNFL @rams_report @HoustonTexans @LosTexans #rogercarter pic.twitter.com/8GkkqJUpfe— Hula Bowl (@Hula_Bowl) August 20, 2022
For years, Rams fans have seen how Kyle Shanahan and the San Fransisco 49ers use Kyle Juszczyk. While Carter may not be Juszczyk, he has the ability to play in that same type of role. A year on the practice squad will be good for him as he develops and learns the offense.
OL Bobby Evans
It may be odd for the Rams to put Bobby Evans on the practice squad. If the Rams did cut him, he may not even clear waivers. However, last year the team cut Micah Kiser and the Rams were able to sign him to the practice squad. Kiser was eventually signed by the Denver Broncos.
A similar thing could happen to Evans this year. The fact is, the Rams haven’t gotten the development from Evans that they would have wanted in three years. On Saturday night against the Bengals, he was playing deep into the game which isn’t a good sign.
Still, Evans brings experience in the offense and tackle/guard versatility. He’s someone to at least keep in the organization if they can.
NT Elijah Garcia
Elijah Garcia was signed as an undrafted free agent and is certainly a player that the Rams won’t want to let go. This preseason, Garcia played well against the run as the nose tackle in the center of the defensive line. He finished with six total tackles.
It’s important to remember that Bobby Brown is suspended for the first six games and Greg Gaines is on the final year of his deal. This is someone that could spend a year on the practice squad to develop and then grow into a larger role next year.
LB Jake Gervase
Jake Gervase started his career with the Rams as a safety and transitioned to linebacker last year. At times, he looked lost at linebacker, but seemed to be a lot more comfortable this preseason.
This is a player that the Rams have put a lot of investment in from a development standpoint and he got playing time during last season’s Super Bowl run on special teams. Gervase had a solid preseason, forcing a fumble against the Texans. He finished with 16 tackles.
LB Jake Hummel
Jake Hummel was one of the most impressive players for the Rams this preseason outside of McCutcheon. He finished with a preseason record 22 tackles in three games. He was the Rams’ leading tackler in every game but the finale against the Bengals.
The issue for Hummel will be numbers. It’s not likely that the Rams keep a lot of linebackers. It’s not a position that the Rams value and they have Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones. Christian Rozeboom has been in the system and will provide depth.
If Hummel is cut, it also wouldn’t be surprising to see him be claimed by another team. The Rams could put him on the initial 53-man roster and wait for teams to fill their practice squads before sending Hummel on waivers. The Rams are going to want to keep Hummel and develop him in their system.
CB Duron Lowe
Duron Lowe has played well this preseason. Unfortunately, there likely just won’t be enough roster spots for him. The Rams have Jalen Ramsey, Troy Hill, David Long, Robert Rochell, Cobie Durant, and Derion Kendrick ahead of him. It’s highly unlikely that they would keep seven cornerbacks.
This angle of @Duron_lowe_1's PBU. — Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) August 20, 2022
@ABC7 | https://t.co/4beUdmlymg pic.twitter.com/mEYK0PVmLi
Lowe is someone that the Rams can stash on the practice squad this year while he develops and then hope he either is promoted to the roster later this year or earns a spot next year.
OL Max Pircher
Pircher is part of the NFL’s International Pathway Program. Because of this, he doesn’t count as part of the 16-man practice squad and is still someone that the Rams can stash and continue to develop.
iOL Jack Snyder
Snyder didn’t play well this preseason, but he’s someone who brings interior offensive line versatility. Brian Allen will start the season at center. However, behind him, the Rams only have Coleman Shelton with center experience.
Having Snyder on the practice squad allows the Rams to develop some center depth. This is a position that the Rams are extremely thin. Stashing Snyder and developing him makes sense.
WR Austin Trammell
The Rams will need to keep at least one wide receiver on the practice squad. Trammell was only signed with the Rams early in August before the preseason. However, he’s someone who played two games with the Falcons last year and brings value on special teams.
Trammell may not have been ‘Lance McCutcheon good’ this preseason, but few players, if any, were. He finished with eight catches for 83 yards over the three preseason games. Trammell also played a role returning punts on special teams which is something that the Rams don’t have a lot of in their wide receiver room.
EDGE Benton Whitley
It would not be surprising to see Whitley make the initial 53-man roster. He’s played very well this preseason and is right behind Keir Thomas in leading the team in quarterback pressures. Additionally, he adds value on special teams.
Benton Whitley (@Bxnwhitley) with the cross chop/rip off the edge. Gets pressure on the QB. Have a pass rush plan! #passrush #ramshouse pic.twitter.com/MjsS1lPbrH— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) August 14, 2022
Unfortunately, this is a case in which the numbers just don’t work out. The Rams can only keep so many edge rushers, and I wouldn’t expect any surprise moves here. Whitley can be stashed on the practice squad and develop his game further.
S Russ Yeast
Similar to Lowe, Yeast makes a lot of sense as a candidate for the practice squad. He’s had a good preseason, but Jordan Fuller, Nick Scott, Taylor Rapp, and Terrell Burgess are a solid four ahead of him.
Yeast is someone that should make it through waivers and someone that the Rams can stash on the practice squad. The team can then promote him in case of injury as he develops.