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LA Rams

Early 53-man roster projections for the Rams

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Dominique Easley (91) celebrates after sacking San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the first half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The Los Angeles Rams will need some young guys on offense to take some serious strides if they want to compete this year. The defense will thrive, especially under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. They can only carry so much of the burden, though. Let’s look at some of the decisions they’ll have to make.

QB-2

Jared Goff

Sean Mannion

Analysis: The Rams only have two quarterbacks on the roster. This year is the Goff show. All he needs to do is stay in his lane and go the speed limit this year. Last year, he was swerving at every rodent in sight and never found his groove. He didn’t have help, but Goff wasn’t good last year. If he’s competent in his second year, that’s an upgrade.

RB-4

Todd Gurley

Malcolm Brown

Lance Dunbar

Sam Rogers

Analysis: Like Goff, Gurley has to get better. The offensive line wasn’t good, either. Both can be better. Gurley needs to be more patient. He leaves yards on the field by running up the backs of his blockers. He’s too talented not to have a carry over 25 yards. Brown isn’t a bad complement. Dunbar is just a guy. This backfield is all about Gurley getting back to the player from the first half of his rookie year.

WR-7

Robert Woods

Tavon Austin

Pharoh Cooper

Mike Thomas

Bradley Marquez

Cooper Kupp

Josh Reynolds

Analysis: The Rams drafted receivers in the third and fourth rounds for obvious reasons. Last years rookies didn’t cut it. Reynolds and Kupp are improvements. I’m higher on Reynolds than most and believe he could be the team’s best target by season’s end. The Rams likely will carry extra receivers and give somebody the opportunity to step up. Woods shouldn’t be a team’s No. 2 receiver, but that’s where he is as of today. Austin is fine. But he’s not a guy you look for on third downs. Hopefully, Reynolds can be that guy.

TE-3

Tyler Higbee

Gerald Everett

Temarrick Hemingway

Analysis: Higbee has the size and athleticism a team wants at tight end. Everett has the size. The two should pair well together. They won’t exactly be the duo the New England Patriots had a few years ago but these two should be serviceable. Hemingway is an ideal third tight end. Everett should be the underneath option while Higbee gives the Rams the ability down the seam.

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (89) on the field before a game against the Arizona Cardinals played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/John Cordes)

(AP Photo/John Cordes)

OL-9

Andrew Whitworth

Rodger Saffold

John Sullivan

Rob Havenstein

Jamon Brown

Andrew Donnal

Cody Wichmann

Austin Blythe

Jake Eldrenkamp

Analysis: Trading away Greg Robinson was a surprise to the outside world but he just didn’t stand a chance of getting on the field. Another surprise was not selecting an offensive lineman in the draft, considering how poor this unit was last year. Members of the coaching staff did say they would like to coach guys up, so this is their opportunity. Whitworth will be a major upgrade and the best lineman on the team in some time. The team needs Havenstein and Brown to take the next step in their development.

DL-6

Aaron Donald

Michael Brockers

Dominique Easley

Ethan Westbrooks

Tanzel Smart

Louis Trinca-Pasat

Analysis: Having the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL takes all kinds of pressure off, no matter the scheme or the play that’s called. Phillips will have a field day with the looks he can get with Donald. If Brockers and Easley stay healthy, this should be a good front. I also believe the switch should help Westbrooks.

Edge Rushers-4

Robert Quinn

Connor Barwin

Ejuan Price

Samson Ebukam

Analysis: Football deserves a healthy season of Quinn. He’s a joy to watch. Phillips will do wonders with him as well. Barwin is the ideal No. 2 rusher. Price, though undersized, could make some noise because he has shown he can get after the passer.

Linebackers-5

Alec Ogletree

Mark Barron

Bryce Hager

Josh Forrest

Cory Littleton

Analysis: Barron was inconsistent last year. He seemed like he was all or nothing. He’s not a true linebacker but this seems to suit him better than safety did. Ogletree was not good last year. He is just hyped off draft status and name at this point. Forrest was the other linebacker before injury but wasn’t the most decisive linebacker. This entire unit could be upgraded.

CB-6

Trumaine Johnson

E.J. Gaines

Kayvon Webster

Lamarcus Joyner

Nickell Robey-Coleman

Troy Hill

Analysis: Johnson is one of the more underrated players at the position. Just a matter of him staying on the field. In Phillips’ aggressive man scheme, he should get back to where he was in 2015. Joyner is interesting. Will he get more looks at safety under Phillips? Does the position even matter? He’ll likely be in the box or in the slot either way. The addition of Robey-Coleman and Webster gives the Rams more flexibility.

Safety-4

Maurice Alexander

John Johnson

Cody Davis

Brian Randolph

Analysis: Johnson is a rookie but a smart football player and comes from a team that continuously had great defenses. In limited action, Davis didn’t seem like he could be trusted with more snaps. He’s a special teamer. Alexander isn’t spectacular but he’s solid and that’s fine. The lack of depth or talent makes sense for Joyner to transition back to his college position.

Special Teams-3

Greg Zuerlein

Johnny Hekker

Jake McQuaide

Analysis: The Rams had the third-best special teams unit last year and primarily because of Hekker and their punting unit. Zuerlein held his own as well. The team could stand to be better in the return game, however.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. SoCalSeats

    Jul 25, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    still no receivers, offensive line is mediocre at best and defense has to learn whole new system. another year in purgatory rams fans

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