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Rams release 2 players Thursday, including kicker

Roster churn begins with Kicker Christoper Dunn and safety Collin Duncan being waived

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Arkansas at Mississippi State
Safety Collin Duncan released after minicamp
Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams announced the release of rookie kicker Christopher Dunn at the conclusion of minicamp, putting at least a pause on their competition at the position for the time being. The Rams also announced they waived safety Collin Duncan. The moves bring the roster down to 85 players heading into the summer break preceding the start of training camp.

Christopher Dunn - North Carolina State

In a undrafted free agent coup, L.A. was able to sign two of the top collegiate kickers, Dunn, and Tanner Brown. Back on May 7, I profiled both and said this about Dunn:

Won the 2022 Lou Groza Award as the nation’s best placekicker and was also named a First Team All-American. Not a big player with booming leg, Dunn excels at short range accuracy. Over his five seasons and 61 games, he knocked through 96 of 113 field goals, a 85% clip and suffered only two blocks. He was also perfect on 199 extra points.

“While he converted 73 of 79 (92.4%) field goals from 0 to 39 yards. Things start to change when you begin to account for his long range game. He drops to 21 of 27 from 40-49 yards (77.8 %), although it should be reported that his long distance efficiency improved over his time at North Carolina State and he nailed 8 of 9 from this distance in 2022. He wasn’t called on for many long kicks and settled 4 of 10 from 50+ yards.

Dunn will have work to do on kickoffs. In his five college seasons he was never able to win the kickoff job and had less than five total kickoffs. Lance Zierlein at says that his, “slow operation time will result in blocked kicks as a pro”.

At the NFL Combine, Dunn was amongst six of the top placekicking prospects invited to work out and was the only kicker to hit on all 11 of his kicks. The try’s were from 30 to 55 yards and attempted from both hashes and directly head on”.

I also weighed in on who I thought had the better shot at making the roster,

“... camp competition should be fierce. It appears to me that Tanner Brown should have the inside track, his short accuracy numbers are solid, has the stronger leg, is experienced at kicking off, and could be pressed into service as an emergency punter. In fact his kickoff average depth rivals that of ex-Ram Matt Gay. He worked off an artificial surface”.

Collin Duncan - Mississippi State

Duncan was long shot to even make the practice squad, the Rams have deep, albeit inexperienced deep secondary. On May 19, Turf Show Times printed his profile capsuled as part of the Rams undrafted safeties:

“SEC deep safety adept in keeping the action in front of him. Turns 22 next month. Spent four seasons with the Bulldogs, starting 33 of 47 games. He made 148 tackles, 7.5 for loss, three interceptions, and 15 passes defended. He also had two sacks and forced four fumbles.

At the Mississippi State Pro Day, he was sized up at 6’ 197 lbs. with 9 1/8” hands and 31 7/8” arms. Some parts of his athletic were sterling, he had outstanding leaps in the vertical 41.5” and broad jump, 10’ 10”. His forty time was a poor 4.74, as well as his 7.31 3Cone. In agility, he ran an adequate 4.28 shuttle and had 14 reps on the bench.

Played primarily deep in defensive backfield and didn’t offer much in run support. Certainly not a banger. As a cover guy, he doesn’t appear to have the long speed or short area quickness for single high in the NFL.

Has a background in special teams. I don’t want to be too negative, he’s a three-year starter used to facing up against tough SEC offenses. He has a steady all-around game, with no area particularly standing out”.

At that time I surmised that Duncan was not athletic or fast enough for a deep safety player, the role he primarily played in college and not physical enough for a strong safety.

More to come?

There will likely be many more small moves like this as the Rams fine tune the roster for the start of training camp. Dunn’s release may come as a bit of a surprise to fans, but it was a long road for Duncan.

Odds are, the Rams will sign a couple of more camp bodies to replace the pair. With coach Sean McVay’s penchant for sitting his opening roster in the preseason games, the must have enough bodies for three games.

Or, with some recently opened cap space, is Les Snead priming for a veteran free agent addition? There are a few names to consider in that market and L.A.’s now got some cap space to work with if they want to.