The Los Angeles Rams have completed the preseason after losing to the Denver Broncos, 41-0. Next on the agenda will be getting the roster down to 53 before Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. With so much competition on the roster, this is one of the more difficult rosters to predict. It’s also worth remembering that the initial 53-man roster will likely look very different by Week 1 as players are placed on IR and waiver claims are made. I have a few surprise cuts in my final roster prediction. Let’s dive into it!
Quarterback (2): Matthew Stafford, Stetson Bennett
It’s important not to overreact here. While it wouldn’t be surprising if the Rams kept three quarterbacks, it felt like the intention throughout the preseason was to prepare Bennett to be the backup. He didn’t play well the last two games. However, that was without wide receivers like Puka Nacua who Bennett had a strong connection with in the Chargers game.
Again, the Rams could easily keep Rypien and roster three quarterbacks. You could argue that they need to add another quarterback. The last two games from Bennett weren’t pretty and he clearly has a long way to go. At the same time, Rypien didn’t stand out either. Bennett should be able to learn what it means to be a backup just sitting behind Matthew Stafford.
Running Back (4): Cam Akers, Kyren Williams, Ronnie Rivers, Zach Evans
Over the last few weeks, Ronnie Rivers has impressed and clearly worked his way onto the roster. Rivers once again averaged over five yards per carry against the Broncos defense. Keeping Rivers add value on special teams and allows Evans a year to develop. This seems like a pretty solid four to make the roster.
Wide Receiver (6): Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, TuTu Atwell, Puka Nacua, Ben Skowronek, Demarcus Robinson
There is some debate on whether or not the Rams will keep six or seven wide receivers. If they decide to keep seven, it will be Tyler Johnson as the seventh wide receiver. With that said, Robinson adds more versatility and brings value as depth as the “x” receiver behind Van Jefferson.
McVay has kept seven wide receivers just twice since 2017. In 2019, Nsimba Webster and JoJo Natson were kept as the sixth and seventh wide receivers. Last season, it was Lance McCutcheon as the seventh guy. Keeping seven is certainly possibly, but six feels more likely.
Tight End (4): Tyler Higbee, Brycen Hopkins, Hunter Long, Davis Allen
In a surprising move on Saturday afternoon, the Rams activated Hunter Long off of the PUP list. That could have meant that Long is a lock to make the roster or Saturday was his chance to prove that he belongs on the roster.
With Higbee and Hopkins on expiring contracts, it makes sense to keep four tight ends. If the Rams do cut a tight end, it will be Long. However, four seems like the direction that they want to go.
Offensive Line (9): Joe Noteboom, Steve Avila, Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton, Rob Havenstein, Alaric Jackson, Warren McClendon, Tremayne Anchrum, Zach Thomas
Cutting Logan Bruss may seem like giving up early on a player who was never really given a fair chance. He was moved from right tackle to guard upon entering the league. After training there for his rookie year and most of this offseason, he was moved to right tackle. Last week, the Rams then moved him to swing tackle and he began taking snaps on the left side. He’s never been able to settle in to a position.
With that being said, trying Bruss at several spots may have been a way to try to find a place for him on the roster. He hasn’t found success at any spot. AJ Arcuri may be a 10th offensive lineman, but he’s likely a practice squad candidate.
Linebacker (3): Ernest Jones, Christian Rozeboom, Jake Hummel
All three of these players did not play on Saturday against the Broncos. This has been the favored three linebackers since the beginning of OTAs and nothing has changed. DeAndre Square and Kalechi Anyalebechi will be practice squad candidates. Square may even end up on IR after his injury. However, Jones, Rozeboom, and Hummel will be on the roster.
EDGE (4): Byron Young, Michael Hoecht, Nick Hampton, Keir Thomas
I could very easily see the Rams only keeping three edge rushers and then scouring the waiver wire and trade market. Trevis Gipson became available from the Chicago Bears and had seven sacks in 2021. However, Keir Thomas may have done just enough to earn a roster spot here. Ochaun Mathis will very likely end up on IR. Mathis may end up on the roster initially to avoid waivers and is something to keep an eye on during roster cuts.
Cornerback (6): Cobie Durant, Ahkello Witherspoon, Derion Kendrick, Robert Rochell, Tre Tomlinson, Shaun Jolly
The cornerback position is an interesting one. The players that I’m the least sure about is Rochell. He gave up two big plays on Saturday. It’s important not to overreact and he had been solid in the previous two games. Shaun Jolly may be a slight surprise, but he provides depth as the “star”.
Safety (5): Jordan Fuller, John Johnson III, Russ Yeast, Quentin Lake, Tanner Ingle
Jason Taylor II is a player that may end up on IR to start the season as he deals with an injury. Tanner Ingle has played well when given the opportunity. Quindell Johnson will be a name to watch here as well and is a player who may end up on the practice squad. Again, Taylor may end up on the roster ahead of Ingle with the caveat that Taylor ends up on IR. It will be a situation to monitor.
Defensive Line (7): Bobby Brown, Aaron Donald, Marquise Copeland, Jonah Williams, Kobie Turner, Earnest Brown IV, Desjuan Johnson
The defensive line is very difficult to figure out and this may end up being a position in which the Rams scour the waiver wire after roster cutdown to see if they can bring in a player with size. Larrell Murchison is a surprise cut, especially as he does bring size. However, Desjuan Johnson has performed well over the last few weeks.
Specialists (3): K Tanner Brown, P Ethan Evans, LS Alex Ward
While Tanner Brown missed a kick on Saturday, don’t expect the Rams to make any moves here. They’re going to give their rookies time and see how they respond to adversity. If the Rams were considered a contender, they may go out and sign a Robbie Gould. That’s not the case. Brown will likely get a few weeks in the regular season. The Rams could even bring in competition between now and Week 1.