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Rams ranked as one of worst rosters in NFL by PFF

PFF ranked the Rams as one of the worst rosters in the NFL in 2023

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Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

There is not a lot of optimism surrounding the Los Angeles Rams heading into the 2023 season. That’s especially felt in the media where many of the Rams position groups have been ranked at or near the bottom in the NFL.

That shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. After all, the Rams are coming off of a 5-12 season and they won just two games over the season’s final 11 weeks. Still, it seems odd for a recent Super Bowl champion to have fallen this far.

Yes, many of the pieces on that Super Bowl roster are different. Jalen Ramsey was traded and Leonard Floyd was cut. On offense, Andrew Whitworth retired and both Robert Woods and Odell Beckham Jr. are no longer on the roster. The roster looks night and day compared to what it did even a year ago. The Rams hoisted the Lombardi trophy just a little over a year ago. For them to be considered one of the worst rosters in the NFL, “odd” is the only way to describe it.

Pro Football Focus recently released their early 2023 roster ranking for each NFL team. At 31, ahead of only the Arizona Cardinals, were the Rams.

“A glance at the Rams’ roster shows a team dealing with the consequences of their win-now approach over the past half-decade. They got their trophy, but the cupboard looks pretty bare. Healthy versions of Stafford, Kupp and Donald give them a chance to win games. That’s about it. They won five last year and let go of Bobby Wagner and Jalen Ramsey. It’s gard to see how a team so thin gets to seven wins.”

This seems to be the consensus take with the Rams heading into this season. It’s not totally wrong as the Rams cupboard is bare outside of their three stars. You don’t have over 40 rookies on the roster heading into training camp on a team with already several established players.

PFF broke their explanation down into sections - biggest strength, biggest weakness, x-factor, and rookie to watch. The biggest strength for the Rams was their run defense with their biggest weakness being the offensive line. About the offensive line, PFF said,

“The Rams were hit with an absurd number of injuries up front. Only two of their offensive linemen played at least 500 snaps. Right tackle Rob Havenstein was the only one to appear in all 17 games. The Rams were the lowest-scoring team in the NFL outside of their 51-point drubbing of Denver on Christmas Day. The offensive line injuries, and subsequent Matthew Stafford injuries, were the primary reason for their downfall.”

The offensive line ended up being the biggest weakness last year, but a lot of that was because of the injuries. Injuries weren’t the only reason, but they were a primary reason. Still, while the offensive line is most important to the Rams’ success, I’m not sure if it is the biggest weakness.

Outside of Cobie Durant, the Rams don’t have a lot of experience or talent at cornerback. Derion Kendrick is slated to start on the outside along with potentially Robert Rochell. Both players are extremely unproven. At least on the offensive line, the Rams still have Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton, Rob Havenstein, and Steve Avila. Outside of Avila, those are at least players with experience. Havenstein and Allen have both shown that they can play at an above average level at their position.

Avila was also named the team’s best rookie which comes as no surprise. However, Kobie Turner could be in the conversation at the end of the season along with Byron Young. Cam Akers, meanwhile, was named the Rams’ x-factor.

Here’s what PFF had to say about Avila,

“The second-rounder out of TCU should be an immediate starter at either guard spot for the Rams. Four different players appeared at left guard for them last year, while six made an appearance at right guard. Avila locking down one of those spots would bring desperately needed stability up front. He was one of the best pass-protecting guards in the 2023 class (83.6 grade in 2022).”

While the Rams roster may not look great on paper, they also won’t have the pressure of repeating or being the defending Super Bowl champion. As is usually the case with this Rams team, they go from one extreme to the other. Not having this pressure may end up being beneficial at the end of the day. We can look PFF grades and the analytics and say that the Rams have a bad roster. The games are played on the field and it will be interesting to see what this Rams team does this season.