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3 Rams with most to gain, 3 with the most to lose in preseason finale

Which Rams have the most to lose and the most to gain in the preseason finale against the Broncos?

NFL: Los Angeles Rams Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams will play their final preseason game against the Denver Broncos on Saturday. With just one preseason game to go, it will be the final opportunity for some of these players to make their case for a roster spot. For others, they’ll have the opportunity to show why they deserve a spot on the final-53 or maybe even a larger role once the regular season begins. Here are three players with most to gain, and three with the most to lose in the preseason finale.

Most to Gain - OL Zach Thomas

Zach Thomas has played very well this preseason and has likely done enough to earn a spot on the roster. With another solid performance, it will certainly be difficult for the Rams to keep him off of it.

The Rams claimed Thomas off of waivers from the Chicago Bears last year. During the preseason, he’s allowed just one pressure which came at tackle. At guard, Thomas has been extremely solid and has shown that at the very least, he could provide good depth on the offensive line in 2023. Los Angeles will have some difficult decisions to make in roster cutdowns and Thomas could make it even more difficult with a strong performance.

Most to Lose - WR Lance McCutcheon

Lance McCutcheon stole the show last year in the preseason and it was because of that the Rams decided to roster him and keep seven wide receivers. McCutcheon was quiet during the regular season and has been quiet again this preseason. With Tyler Johnson and Demarcus Robinson stepping up, it’s hard to see McCutcheon making the final roster.

It’s very possible that McCutcheon loses his roster spot. The Rams may opt to keep him on the practice squad, but it would take a very good performance at this point for the 2022 undrafted free agent out of Montana State to make the final-53.

Most to Gain - RB Ronnie Rivers

Coming into the preseason, not many would have expected Rivers to be in contention for the roster. It seemed like a given that the Rams would keep three running backs — Cam Akers, Kyren Williams, and Zach Evans. However, Rivers has performed well and could be a player that the Rams decide to keep after signing with the Rams from the Seattle Seahawks in 2022.

Rivers provides value on special teams as a returner and also as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Throughout the preseason, he’s averaging 4.6 yards per carry which ranks sixth in the NFL among running backs with at least 15 carries. Evans may have the brighter future with the Rams, but for now Los Angeles may prefer Rivers as the third running back.

Most to Lose - QB Brett Rypien

Throughout training camp, some thought that the Rams may end up keeping three quarterbacks. Matthew Stafford would be the starter and then Rypien and Stetson Bennett would share the backup role. That was until the first preseason game when Bennett looked comfortable. Following the Las Vegas Raiders game, that thought process seemed to change again.

It will be interesting to see how many quarterbacks the Rams decide to keep. Rypien hasn’t necessarily looked good when he’s played, but as someone who has been a backup in the NFL, he also may not be a bad player to keep around to mentor Bennett. If Bennett performs well against the Broncos, the Rams may decide just to go with two quarterbacks. However, with another mid performance and Rypien showing improvement, they may opt to keep three.

Most to Gain - CB Tre Tomlinson

Could Tre Tomlinson earn a starting role in the secondary? Ideally, the Rams would like some size on the outside with Derion Kendrick or Robert Rochell. With that said, Tomlinson has played extremely well and held his own. He covered first-round pick Quentin Johnston against the Chargers very well and then had another strong performance last week.

If Tomlinson has another strong performance, it’s going to be difficult for the Rams to keep him off of the field despite his size. At the very least, Tomlinson could work in a rotational role and see playing time early as a rookie.

Most to Lose - TE Hunter Long

There is some speculation that Hunter Long could begin the season on the PUP list. However, the start for the player acquired in the Jalen Ramsey trade certainly has not gone to plan. Long has been hurt most of training camp and has yet to play in the preseason. It would be a surprise if he played in Saturday’s game against the Broncos.

What made it worse for Long is that Davis Allen had eight catches in his debut last week. Would the Rams just cut Long if Allen has another strong performance? While they could do it, it’s going to be difficult for the Rams to keep four tight ends, even if they put Long on the PUP list. This is certainly going to be a situation to monitor.