“The motto for the Rams last offseason was “run it back” after they won the Super Bowl. They tried to repeat as champions by bringing back most of their core and maintaining a similar roster, but that plan failed miserably after the injury bug bit every position on the team.
As bad as they were in 2022, the Rams returned more players than any team in the NFL – and that was after a Super Bowl win. According to Pro Football Focus, the Rams’ return rate of 86.8% from 2021 to 2022 was the highest in the league by a wide margin; the Cardinals, Lions and Commanders were tied for second at 81.1%.
In fact, the Rams’ return rate of 74.2% from 2020-2022 is tied for the highest in the NFL with the Cardinals and Bills. It’s a big reason for their success in recent years, prioritizing continuity and familiarity.
This year is going to be different. Very different.
We don’t yet know the Rams’ return rate for 2023 because the 53-man roster isn’t set, but it’s almost certain that Los Angeles will be among the teams with the most roster turnover this season.
So far, they’ve already parted with 18 players from last year’s roster, either via free agency, roster cuts or trades. Jalen Ramsey, Bobby Wagner and Allen Robinson are three players who have landed elsewhere, and Leonard Floyd is still looking for his next team, as is Troy Hill.
That’s 18 players for certain who won’t be back with the Rams in 2023, with another eight who are still pending free agents after being on the 53-man roster last year. Many of those will be replaced by rookies, of which the Rams have nearly 40 at the moment.
Even if all 14 drafted rookies make the team that will account for more than a quarter of the 53-man roster. There will also be a new kicker and long snapper, plus tight end Hunter Long, who’s likely to make the team after being acquired in the Ramsey trade. That’s 17 new players right there.”
Yo bro who got them smiling like that?? pic.twitter.com/WnlvyaZznL— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) May 24, 2023
“Much like a jigsaw puzzle, assembling a full image of a 90-man NFL roster requires finding and fitting together the framework pieces, and then finishing everything by adding the missing pieces to complete and round out the picture. It’s virtually impossible to find and fit so many players who will not only meet the expectations of the coaching staff but who will complement without duplicating the skillsets of their teammates.
Some players won’t meet the medical/physical exam. Others won’t meet the expectations of the coaching staff in workouts and schemes. Finally, others will lag behind when the pads go on, and training camp pivots from track and field events to the contact sport we know and love as football.
Waive hello to new players
As the Rams roster begins to congeal, to take form through accumulating hours in training camp, the team may need to adjust the personnel. Without a lot of disposable cash to spend on the top free agent names still unsigned, the Rams front office will need to deploy a different tactic. That is why I expect this team to make greater use of the NFL Waiver Wire in 2023 than ever before.
There are two reasons for this. By claiming players who have been waived by other team, the Rams can leverage their less-than-successful 2022 NFL season to their advantage, essentially becoming the sixth of 32 teams as far as priority in claiming players who the Rams have interest in.
But the NFL waiver wire also allows the Rams to agree to terms of an NFL contract that were already negotiated. In essence, the Rams simply pick up where the former team left off. That can be quite advantageous as it allows the Rams to know the compensation and duration of a given player instantly, and the team can choose which players fit what the Rams want to do based on that compensation and how long that contract is in effect.”
“Why is athleticism important? All things being equal, the players who are stronger and faster have a competitive edge on the football field. The key is to ensure that all things are equal. The LA Rams struggled in the 2021 NFL Draft because it appeared that the Rams’ strategy in the 2021 draft class was to emphasize athleticism at the expense of all other factors. Size, experience, football IQ, and production were not a factor in that 2021 rookie draft class.
Thankfully, the Rams appear to have found a balance this time around, as the team has a tremendously athletic group of rookies this season, but did not appear to take any shortcuts along the way.
If you were wondering, Kent Lee Platte did not include Wingate punter Ethan Evans in his 2023 Draft Class list (above). The reason? Not enough published measurements to compare him to other rookie punters.
The LA Rams are getting underway with OTAs this week, and the initial results are as positive as you might expect. One of the surprising names to surface from the first OTA recap is Rams undrafted rookie running back Tiyon Evans out of Louisville. He was noteworthy because he made an impression on both Rams’ reporters J.B Long and D’Marco Farr as a player who was ripped with muscles. So how athletic is he? Actually, he scored very highly on composite speed, which is a very good thing for an NFL running back.”
The next big move for each team in NFC West (yardbarker)
“Add depth at cornerback: With a healthy QB Matthew Stafford in the mix, the Rams should still have big-play potential on offense. Defense is going to be another story. That’s where they still have problems at all three levels of the field.
Los Angeles added depth along the D-line and at the edge spots in the draft with the selections of Byron Young and Kobie Turner, but they need more help in the secondary. The Rams, who dealt CB Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins in the offseason, did not address the secondary in the draft and have Cobie Durant and Derion Kendrick listed as their starting corners. They might need be good enough. The most intriguing name still available on the free-agent market is veteran Marcus Peters, who spent parts of two seasons with the Rams during 2018 and 2019.”