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Which rookies are standing out in Week 2 of Rams training camp?

We’ve got a long way to go but plenty to be hopeful about in Week 2

NFL: MAY 23 Los Angeles Rams OTA Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams open their preseason slate a week from today against the Chargers. Nothing like watching the youngsters participating in their first “Battle for LA”, even if it’s only preseason.

There’s still a long way to go until LA’s season opener against the Seattle Seahawks. The Rams’ rookie class has had their ups and downs but that’s all part of the process. Patience is a requirement with young players. With that in mind, here’s a progress check of notable first-year players from Week 2 of training camp.

Kobie Turner

If you can make an admirer out of Aaron Donald, you must be doing something right. Way to be in AD’s good graces Kobie Turner! Donald has been quite impressed with the rookie third-rounder so far.

The first-year pro from Wake Forest won’t have any trouble making the 53-man roster based on his draft positioning and camp performance. Having an All-Pro singing his praises probably won’t hurt either. Assuming his performance doesn’t drop off or he suffers an injury, Turner will be the favorite to play on the interior defensive line alongside Donald. Like many of you I’ll be monitoring this spot as camp progresses because the future is very bright for this kid if he can put it all together.

Stetson Bennett

Another week, another clip to add to the highlight reel for Stetson Bennett. Last week it was a pass to Demarcus Robinson, this week it was to fellow hyped rookie Puka Nacua who appears to be fine after being carted off the field last week.

Bennett has been impressing all training camp thanks to his pinpoint accuracy and underrated athleticism. I’ll be curious to see whether Sean McVay will name him the starter for the Chargers game. My bet is yes as so far, the Georgia product has an slight edge on Brett Rypien for the QB2 role. Early in the week, Bennett led the first team offense while Matthew Stafford took the day off and made the most of his opportunity.

Still early but the Rams seemingly have their upgrade at the QB2 spot. Even if Bennett doesn’t win it now, LA is in better shape at the position with him and Rypien on the depth chart compared to what they had a year ago. Rypien has three starts of NFL experience while Bennett has all the tools to become an effective game manager in a pinch. Yet if Stets can keep this up, he’ll have the backup spot locked up in no time.

Zach Evans

Remember how Sony Michel’s retirement was supposed to pave the way for Zach Evans in the lineup? That might not be the case after all thanks to the ascension of 2022 fifth-rounder Kyren Williams.

This doesn’t mean that Evans is in any danger of not making the roster or anything like that. Fact is, the Ole Miss product carving out a sizable role in the offense in his first year was already a tall task. It was never going to be that easy and his uneven performance on the field through the opening two weeks of camp hasn’t helped his case. According to some notes from TST’s own Blaine Grisak:

“Rookie running back Zach Evans had a fumble early in the week, but was noted with a nice play as a receiver by the Rams’ Stu Jackson. Williams was reported to have a nice touchdown grab along the sideline this week.”

Evans doesn’t have a straight-forward path towards becoming RB2 behind Cam Akers. At worst, he’ll enter the season third on the depth chart behind Akers and Williams. Again, I can’t stress enough how early it is. Williams might look great at the moment but will he be able to build off that momentum? Similar to Bennett, I fully expect Evans to play a decent amount against the Chargers. He won’t start but will likely be seen at some point in the second half.

Pass Rushers

I decided to lump these guys into one category as there hasn’t been a single standout from the position through Week 2. That’s not to say they’re one in the same as Byron Young, Nick Hampton and Ochaun Mathis each have unique skillsets to bring to the defense as McVay has pointed out.

Given all the uncertainty, this will be a position that’ll remain muddled for quite some time. If I were to make a determination, I’d have to say this position won’t be settled until after the final preseason game. This group has to be evaluated further before a final decision is made.

That’ll be tough with Mathis out for a few weeks due to tweaking his knee. Young was praised by McVay this week but the Rams’ HC has stated that he’s not there just yet.

McVay’s words can be applied to all the youngsters on the roster. There is a lot of time to figure this out as it’ll never be an overnight process with all the youth at LA’s disposal. Patience is a virtue and the Rams are going to need every last bit of it as the offseason hurries along.