The end is near! NFL training camps officially close tomorrow with final cuts being due by 1 p.m. PST. Trimming those 32 rosters puts 800+ players available for waiver claims and gets scouting staffs into overdrive, poring over the candidates and trying to fill roster needs. Will the Los Angeles Rams try to repurpose another teams castoffs into roster treasure?
The short answer is both yes and no. Yes, because history shows that during the Les Snead/Sean McVay regime the Rams will add at least one player. And no, the same time frame does not show any real value has been added.
With all the Rams success since 2017, they have been way down the list when putting in waiver claims. This year will be no different, L.A. will be 32nd in line for a chance at players. At this late point in the game, it a reach for a niche player. The Rams might be better served to wait for practice squads to be set and poach a promising aspirant.
How have the Rams fared on final cut pickups?
Since Sean McVay took over in 2017, L.A. has only added a total of nine players following, or nearly so, the final cut down. As a group, they have not panned out, with mostly special teams (ST) and practice squad (PS) to their credit. Here they are and the teams they came from.
Guard Jared Hocker—Seattle Seahawks
Only lasted one month before being terminated from the PS.
Safety/linebacker Antoine Brooks—Pittsburgh Steelers
Was active in eight games, gaining 139 ST snaps. He was re-signed to a 2022 Reserve/futures contract, but cut before OTAs.
Running back Buddy Howell—Houston Texans
Mostly used on special teams, but he did get five offensive carries and two kickoff returns. Howell was in on 162 ST snaps.
Running back Raymond Calais—Tampa Bay Buccaneers
While not an official final cut, Calais is an example of poaching off another teams practice squad. He was released by the Bucs, cleared waivers, and then the Rams grabbed him. As such, he had to be added to L.A.’s active roster. He was injured for the the year in the 2021 preseason and has already been released in 2022.
Edge Jachai Polite—Seattle Seahawks
Another non-official final cut, but close and interesting just the same. In mid-September, the then-Oakland Raiders poached off ball linebacker Dakota Allen from the Rams practice squad. L.A. replaced him with Polite, a recent Seahawk cut.
Guard Evan Boehm—Arizona Cardinals
Boehm had started five games for the Cards in 2017, putting 588 offensive snaps under his belt. He seemed like a good addition after the Rams 2019 offensive line woes. In October, he was poached off L.A.’s PS by the Indianapolis Colts and saw action with for starts and 11 overall games with Indy.
Center Aaron Neary—Philadelphia Eagles
Spent 2017 on practice squad until game 16 with the San Francisco 49ers, and got the start when coach Sean McVay decided to sit his starters. Released in the Rams final 2018 cuts and picked up by Cleveland Browns, who released him a couple of days later. Was re-signed by L.A. In 2019, Neary was given a four game suspension for substance abuse, but played in preseason games, and broke an ankle. The Rams released him from the suspended list with an injury settlement.
Defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson—Seattle Seahawks
The Rams got their and put him on the practice squad. In early October, the Seattle reacquired Jefferson by poaching him of the PS.
Center/tackle J.J. Dielman—Cincinnati Bengals
Only lasted 10 days with the Rams before being cut.
What happens tomorrow?
Don’t expect a lot of additions, if any, the Rams are historically enamored with their draft picks and undrafted free agents, 2021 and 2017 may very well have been outliers because of COVID-19 problems last season and ‘17 being McVay’s first roster.
If a good running back can be gobbled up, that would bolster the team. So would a traditional tight end. I am unsure an offensive lineman, who could be of any immediate help, can be had at this juncture. If every team picks up one waiver claim, the top 31 players will be hoarded before the Rams get a selection.
Trader Les (Snead) may better serve L.A. by making a move on a vet with a better track record of performance.