The Los Angeles Rams completed their first preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers. While the Rams lost, the preseason is more about process over results and finding the best players for the final-53. Despite losing, that picture got a little more clear on Saturday. Here’s an updated 53-man roster prediction.
Quarterback (2): Matthew Stafford, Stetson Bennett
The quarterback situation is going to be one to monitor throughout the preseason. While a third quarterback doesn’t count against the 48-man game day roster this season, that player still counts against the 53-man roster.
Stetson Bennett looked more than capable of backing up Matthew Stafford with his performance against the Chargers. He seemed to get better and more comfortable as the game went on. Meanwhile, Brett Rypien didn’t look very good in the opening two series’.
Running Back (3): Cam Akers, Kyren Williams, Zach Evans
The Rams seemingly really like Ronnie Rivers and it’s very possible that he makes the final roster. With that said, the Rams are going to have difficult decisions to make and it makes more sense to use a roster spot somewhere else than on a fourth running back.
Wide Receiver (6): Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, TuTu Atwell, Puka Nacua, Ben Skowronek, Demarcus Robinson
This group of six is going to be very difficult for anyone to break into. Tyler Johnson played well against the Chargers and Lance McCutcheon will be in contention if the Rams decide to keep seven wide receivers. However, keeping this at six to leave spots open at other positions makes the most sense. Johnson and McCutcheon will need to show a lot more than they did on Saturday if they are to make the roster.
Tight End (4): Tyler Higbee, Brycen Hopkins, Hunter Long, Davis Allen
Due to injuries to Hunter Long and Davis Allen, neither of them played against the Chargers. Whether or not the Rams keep three or four here will be something to monitor. With that said, we need to be able to see them on the field. Neither Long or Allen made a lot of noise in OTAs or training camp.
Offensive Line (10): Joe Noteboom, Steve Avila, Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton, Rob Havenstein, Alaric Jackson, Logan Bruss, Warren McClendon, Tremayne Anchrum, Zach Thomas
Keeping ten offensive linemen seems like a lot, but after what the Rams experienced last year, it’s something that they may consider. Zach Thomas spent last season on the practice squad. If he continues to be solid at left guard, it may be difficult for him to clear waivers. The only other player on the bubble here may be Logan Bruss and it’s hard to see the Rams giving up on him this early.
Linebacker (3): Ernest Jones, Christian Rozeboom, Jake Hummel
These are a solid three at the linebacker position and none of the undrafted free agents have really stood out. It’s possible the Rams keep one or two on the practice squad, but Jones, Rozeboom, and Hummel should be on the final roster.
EDGE (4): Byron Young, Michael Hoecht, Nick Hampton, Daniel Hardy
According to Pro Football Focus, Keir Thomas was the Rams’ most productive pass rusher on Saturday. However, he was also responsible for a big run in which he didn’t contain the edge. It will likely be between him and Hardy for the final spot. Hardy at least provides some value on special teams.
Cornerback (6): Cobie Durant, Ahkello Witherspoon, Derion Kendrick, Robert Rochell, Tre Tomlinson, Shaun Jolly
This is going to be a position where the Rams really struggle deciding who they want to keep. The Rams cut Richard LeCounte on Monday, likely to get some of these guys more reps so that they can get a closer look over the next two weeks. Only six cornerbacks may leave the Rams a little thin at the position, but they also have some safeties who can play in the slot if needed.
Safety (5): Jordan Fuller, John Johnson III, Russ Yeast, Quentin Lake, Tanner Ingle
Jason Taylor II remains a potential surprise cut here for me. Tanner Ingle had a good training camp and continued that into Saturday's game against the Chargers. At this point, Ingle should make the roster over Taylor. It may end up being difficult to cut Ingle if he continues to play well.
Defensive Line (7): Bobby Brown, Aaron Donald, Marquise Copeland, Larrell Murchison, Jonah Williams, Kobie Turner, Earnest Brown IV
It’s going to be difficult to find the best combination on the defensive line. It’s clear this group needs to get better in the run game. That’s why keeping a player like Desjuan Johnson who’s only 6’3, 252-pounds doesn’t make a lot of sense. The Rams need size and Johnson doesn’t fit that bill. Johnson can get on the practice squad where he can continue to build out his frame.
Specialists (3): K Tanner Brown, P Ethan Evans, LS Alex Ward
Ethan Evans out-kicked his coverage early and Tanner Brown missed his first field goal. It was a bumpy performance overall, but this is what the Rams have chosen. How long of a leash will Brown have if he misses another field goal against the Las Vegas Raiders.