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5 Rams players who could be this year’s ‘Lance McCutcheon’ type of surprise

Who could be a surprise candidate to make the Los Angeles Rams roster?

Rams vs Falcons
DeCobie Durant undercuts a route for the interception
Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

When it comes to the Los Angeles Rams roster this offseason, there is a lot of opportunity for bottom of the roster caliber players. Every year it seems at least one player comes out of nowhere during the preseasons and makes the final roster. Last season that was wide receiver Lance McCutcheon. With the amount of opportunity on the Rams current roster, there will be at least one of those types of players this year. Here are five under the radar candidates to make the final roster.

1. LB Kelechi Anyalebechi

Anyalebechi is an undrafted free agent from Incarnate Word, but isn’t someone who should be slept on. Over the past few years, undrafted free agents such as Christian Rozeboom and Jake Hummel have each made the practice squad or the final roster. Anyalebechi is a candidate this year to take that same path.

There is a lot of opportunity at the linebacker position. While Ernest Jones is the starter, the same two players mentioned above, Rozeboom and Hummel, are far from locks to make the final roster. If Anyalebechi can impress in training camp and make an impact in the preseason, he could find his way on the final-53.

2. TE Christian Sims

Sims is a player to watch, especially if the Rams keep four tight ends. Tyler Higbee is a lock to make the roster, but behind him are a lot of unknowns. Davis Allen is likely safe as well considering he was just taken in the fifth-round. Brycen Hopkins and Hunter Long meanwhile have a lot to prove in training camp.

At the very least, Sims is a strong candidate for the practice squad. However, he brings a “tweener” profile and receiving ability that the Rams like in a second tight end. Sims is extremely good after the catch as his 5.4 yards after the catch per reception ranked ninth in the nation last year among tight ends with at least 50 targets. Sims isn’t a player to sleep on over the next month.

3. iOL Mike McAllister

When a head coach compliments an undrafted player by name, that’s something to monitor. That’s exactly what happened during OTAs as Sean McVay praised Mike McAllister on the offensive line.

The path to the final roster may be tough for McAllister with Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton, and Steve Avila all with center experience. This may be a player that the Rams end up trying to stash and develop on the practice squad. However, if he plays well in the preseason, he may show that he deserves a spot on the final roster as depth.

4. CB Shaun Jolly

Jolly is a young player who spent some time between the Rams roster and practice squad last season. However, he is someone that they like. Raheem Morris mentioned him as someone in consideration for the “star” position in OTAs. The issue here is how many cornerbacks will the Rams keep? The signing of Ahkello Witherspoon also complicates things.

Still, Jolly is a player to keep an eye on as a long shot to make the final roster. This will be his second year in the system and will have a leg up on some of the other undrafted free agents that the Rams signed.

5. EDGE Keir Thomas

After drafting three edge rushers in the draft, Thomas may be on the outside looking in when it comes to making the final roster. However, this is a player who impressed in the preseason last year and has more experience in the system than any of the rookies.

Byron Young and Nick Hampton are both likely locks. However, Ochaun Mathis is raw and may be better suited for the practice squad. It’s fair to wonder where Daniel Hardy fits into the equation as well. With the lack of experience at the position, Thomas could be someone worth keeping around.

Honorable Mentions

As far as honorable mentions, it’s hard not to mention undrafted free agents like Quindell Johnson and Timarcus Davis. Xavier Smith at wide receiver is a name to watch. However, the Rams are deep at wide receiver and he may be better suited for the practice squad.