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ESPN's Alden Gonzalez makes final 53-man roster projection

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  • ESPN's Alden Gonzalez makes final 53-man roster projection

    Rams' 53-man roster includes 17 new players
    10:00 PM ET
    Alden Gonzalez
    ESPN Staff Writer

    The Los Angeles Rams must cut their roster to 53 by 4 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 2. Here's a final 53-man roster projection:

    QUARTERBACKS (2): Jared Goff, Sean Mannion
    I went back and forth on this, but ultimately opted not to put Dan Orlovsky on the roster. Goff, the starter, and Mannion, his backup, are both young. Orlovsky has a ton of experience, with a dozen years as mainly an NFL backup. But he hasn't shown much this preseason, and the Rams are going to ride their young quarterbacks throughout the year no matter what. I have them using that roster spot elsewhere.

    RUNNING BACKS (4): Malcolm Brown, Justin Davis, Aaron Green, Todd Gurley
    Asked earlier this week about the running back room getting smaller after final cuts, Gurley said, "I hope it doesn't get any smaller than it is now. There's only about three or four guys in there." The Rams signed Lance Dunbar over the offseason with hopes that he can be their change-of-pace back, but a pre-existing knee injury has kept him from practicing. Brown has established himself as Gurley's backup. Davis, an undrafted rookie out of USC, has looked good in space, though he has had fumbling issues.

    FULLBACKS (1): Sam Rogers
    The Rams drafted Rogers out of Virginia Tech in the sixth round this year. He's a 5-foot-10, 235-pound ball of fire who can block, run the ball and catch passes. It'll be interesting to see if Rams coach Sean McVay finds some type of role for Rogers in this offense. He drafted him for a reason.

    WIDE RECEIVERS (6): Tavon Austin, Pharoh Cooper, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds, Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods
    The Watkins acquisition has Nelson Spruce, in my mind, as the odd man out. He's a local product and a fan favorite, and he shined in last year's preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys. But Spruce barely got on the field after that last season and hasn't really stood out this preseason. The Rams are a lot more talented at receiver now. Paul McRoberts and Shakeir Ryan, who has been returning punts, were also tough cuts here.

    TIGHT ENDS (3): Gerald Everett, Cory Harkey, Tyler Higbee
    Temarrick Hemingway suffered a fractured fibula during Saturday's preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers, an injury that could prompt him to miss the entire season. That suddenly opens up a role for Harkey, a sixth-year player, to serve as the third tight end. Harkey doesn't bring Hemingway's skills and athleticism in the passing game, but he's a solid blocker who McVay considers reliable as a receiver. Said Harkey: "I'm here to do whatever I need to do to help the team win, and that's my attitude my whole career."

    OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Austin Blythe, Jamon Brown, Andrew Donnal, Rob Havenstein, Rodger Saffold, John Sullivan, Cody Wichmann, Andrew Whitworth, Darrell Williams
    Donnal hasn't been able to practice because of a knee injury, so right now it looks like Williams (a tackle), Wichmann (a guard) and Blythe (a center) will be the backups for a solidified first-team offensive line. I kept tackle Pace Murphy and center Jake Eldrenkamp out on this one.

    DEFENSIVE LINE (7): Michael Brockers, Aaron Donald, Morgan Fox, Tanzel Smart, Louis Trinca-Pasat, Tyrunn Walker, Ethan Westbrooks
    This, of course, assumes that Donald will show up before the cut-down deadline. Otherwise, the Rams may add someone like Mike Purcell to the mix. Dominique Easley was supposed to start alongside Brockers and Donald in base sets, but Easley suffered a season-ending torn ACL early in training camp. Now that third spot seems open, with Fox, Trinca-Pasat and Westbrooks seemingly the ones being considered.

    LINEBACKERS (8): Mark Barron, Connor Barwin, Samson Ebukam, Josh Forrest, Cory Littleton, Matt Longacre, Alec Ogletree, Robert Quinn
    The Rams need fewer defensive linemen and more linebackers now that they are transitioning to a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. I have Ebukam, Forrest, Littleton and Longacre as the backups to what looks like a talented position group. One can also make a case for Nic Grigsby, Bryce Hager and Ejuan Price.

    CORNERBACKS (4): Trumaine Johnson, Mike Jordan, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Kayvon Webster
    The Rams lost depth here, with Troy Hill being hit with a two-game suspension and E.J. Gaines sent to the Buffalo Bills as part of the trade that landed Watkins. It would make things a lot easier for the Rams if Robey-Coleman, a standout slot corner, can establish himself as an option on the outside. It'll be Webster and Johnson serving as starters.

    SAFETIES (6): Maurice Alexander, Marqui Christian, Blake Countess, Cody Davis, John Johnson, Lamarcus Joyner
    The Rams have versatility at this position, with guys like Christian, Countess and Joyner also able to play corner. They've lost starting safeties in back-to-back offseasons, with Rodney McLeod leaving to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016 and T.J. McDonald joining the Miami Dolphins in 2017. But they have done a nice job replacing them. The key is Joyner, transitioning from slot corner to free safety this year.

    SPECIALISTS (3): Johnny Hekker, Jake McQuaide, Greg Zuerlein
    This was easy. Hekker, McQuaide and Zuerlein are among the best at what they do. No need to mess with anything here.

  • #2
    So far, I've seen only the first half of the Packers game. But the lack of depth on the O-line was evident. Disheartening to see that some of the guys that looked bad against the Packers are going to be on the final roster. O-line seems to be the major weakness for us again. The starters are a serviceable unit. A great LT, should be solid in the left/middle,but inexperienced on the right side. And if a starter goes down... cause for worry. It's going to take McVay-Snead more than one off season to put a complete O-line unit together. Hopefully, better coaching, better scheme, better play calling, and improved play at every other offensive position will relieve enough pressure on the O-line for it to hold together and gel. Again, praying for no serious injuries.


    • #3
      I was disheartened by what I saw in the Packers game. All you have to do is look at a pre-season game to see who has the storied organization and which one needs tremendous work to restore itself to glory. Yeah, and I know it was a meaningless 4th pre-season game, but that didn't prevent the Packers from going out there and playing spirited football. Their third string QB Hill- who has no chance of playing a down this season- scrambling, making plays and firing up the crowd. This was in contrast to the Rams, who were listless and flat. Their depth is a concern in multiple areas. Dan Orlovsky, whose league experience alone should've allowed him to perform better even with backups, was terrible- threw two picks and didn't get a TD on the board until the 4th quarter. Penalties galore, including several on 3rd and long which gave GB automatic first downs. Terrible viewing. Should've watched an A-Team rerun instead.

      I hope the starters are ready for week 1.


      • #4
        Well...there were some highlights... ;) (or whatever you want to call them...)...

        I really enjoy Marshall Faulk as a commentator. That Siciliano guy, on the other hand....

        I like Trinca-Pasat and I thought that Countess was playing O.K. Did not like the two penalties on Davis; plus he seems to be so small be an effective safety...

        Other than that, I would like to know who thought Orlovsky was worthy of a look ?? He was terrible...
        Always a Rams Fan............

        Rex Allen Markel


        • #5
          The Rams CB situation is paper thin on quality. If they lose either starter for a while, it could get a little ugly back there. Even if Joyner moves back, he's not a terrific corner and then that leaves safety exposed. More so than OL, CB worries me. The d-line MUST get pressure from their starting 4.


          • #6
            Why are there more safties than cornerbacks? Doesn't make sense to me unless there are conversion oppotunities. I know this isn't official, but I was liking what I'd seen from Casey Sayles as a DL. Maybe a practice squad candidate. It will be interesting to see the cuts from the other teams enabling us to upgrade certain positions.

            Go Rams!


            • #7
              Originally posted by mde8352gorams View Post
              Why are there more safties than cornerbacks? Doesn't make sense to me unless there are conversion oppotunities.
              From the article: "The Rams have versatility at this position, with guys like Christian, Countess and Joyner also able to play corner."


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dreadlock View Post
                The Rams CB situation is paper thin on quality. If they lose either starter for a while, it could get a little ugly back there. Even if Joyner moves back, he's not a terrific corner and then that leaves safety exposed. More so than OL, CB worries me. The d-line MUST get pressure from their starting 4.
                The defensive backs were talked up during training camp more than any other unit. I was hearing nothing but good things about the athleticism and energy in that group. They felt good enough about the FAs and young guys to trade EJG. So, I'm looking forward to watching this group play. Hoping for the best at this point. I'm telling you, if you see Blythe, Wichmann or Williams in the game, you'll know we are in big trouble.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nick View Post

                  From the article: "The Rams have versatility at this position, with guys like Christian, Countess and Joyner also able to play corner."
                  You're right, I overlooked that. Still puzzled as mostly you see CB's who move to safety, rather than the reverse. I think its mostly a speed issue. Oh well, I think Wade knows what he's doing at this point. Either way I feel DB's will be a crucial part of our defense, especially as we convert to a 3-4.

                  Go Rams!


                  Related Topics


                  • Nick
                    From 90 to 53, here’s the math on the Rams’ roster situation
                    by Nick
                    From 90 to 53, here’s the math on the Rams’ roster situation
                    By RICH HAMMOND | [email protected] | Orange County Register
                    PUBLISHED: August 25, 2017 at 6:13 pm | UPDATED: August 25, 2017 at 6:15 pm

                    The Rams and Chargers brawled three times when the teams practiced together this month, but when they meet in Saturday’s preseason game at the Coliseum, the true battle for the Rams will be internal.

                    This is the third of four preseason games, and at the conclusion, the Rams’ roster will be cut from 90 to its season-opening limit of 53. Next week’s game, though, is window dressing, the very definition of “exhibition.” For players on the roster bubble, Saturday’s game could be the last chance to shine.

                    “It just seems like I’ve been a part of teams every single year,” Coach Sean McVay said, “where a few guys you never expect to, they end up finding a way to make a contribution and give themselves some value, whether that be through special teams, or showing up on offense or defense.”

                    So who is off the bubble? Only McVay and Rams executives know, but here’s a reasonable guess:

                    Quarterbacks Jared Goff and Sean Mannion are safe, as are running backs Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown, receivers Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins, Cooper Kupp, Pharoh Cooper and Tavon Austin, tight ends Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett and Temarrick Hemingway, and offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth, Rob Havenstein, Cody Wichmann, Rodger Saffold, Jamon Brown and John Sullivan.

                    On defense, linemen Michael Brockers, Ethan Westbrooks, Matt Longacre, Tanzel Smart and Louis Trinca-Pasat seem set, as do linebackers Robert Quinn, Connor Barwin, Alec Ogletree, Mark Barron, Ejuan Price and Samson Ebukam, and defensive backs Trumaine Johnson, Mike Jordan, Lamarcus Joyner, Kayvon Webster, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Mo Alexander and Cody Davis.

                    Finally, kicker Greg Zuerlein, punter Johnny Hekker and long snapper Jake McQuaide are locks.

                    That’s 39 players. Recent playing time indicates that fullback Sam Rogers, receiver Josh Reynolds, offensive linemen Jake Eldrenkamp and Darrell Williams, defensive linemen Mike Purcell, linebacker Josh Forrest and defensive backs John Johnson and Marqui Christian also will make the cut.

                    Then there’s Aaron Donald, who presumably will end his holdout one way or another and become No. 48. Remember also that receiver Mike Thomas and Troy Hill will be suspended for the start of the season and running back Lance Dunbar will start on the injured list, meaning none of them will occupy a roster spot.

                    That leaves perhaps five spots, and how will they be broken down?

                    The Rams figure to keep either running back Justin Davis or Aaron Green, and one of three offensive linemen: Austin Blythe, Andrew Donnal (whose current injury status makes this murky) and Pace Murphy.

                    Four linebackers — Nic Grigsby, Bryce Hager, Cory Littleton...
                    -08-25-2017, 06:23 PM
                  • AvengerRam
                    How many players are "locks" for the Final 53?
                    by AvengerRam
                    Who is a "lock" to make the final 53:

                    Here's my count:

                    Veterans (27)
                    Jared Goff
                    Sean Mannion
                    Todd Gurley
                    Andrew Whitworth
                    Rob Havenstein
                    John Sullivan
                    Jamon Brown
                    Rodger Saffold
                    Brandin Cooks
                    Robert Woods
                    Cooper Kupp
                    Pharoh Cooper
                    Josh Reynolds
                    Gerald Everett
                    Tyler Higbee
                    Michael Brockers
                    Ndamukong Suh
                    Aaron Donald
                    Samson Ebukam
                    Corey Littleton
                    Marcus Peters
                    Aqib Talib
                    Nickell Robey-Coleman
                    John Johnson
                    Lamarcus Joyner
                    Johnny Hekker
                    Jake McQuaide

                    Rookies (5)
                    Joe Noteboom
                    Brian Allen
                    John Franklin-Myers
                    Micah Kiser
                    Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

                    So that's 32 guys who I think are absolute locks.

                    I've left out the following players who I are locks provided that they are recovered from previous injuries:

                    Mark Barron
                    Matt Longacre
                    Dominique Easley
                    Sam Shields
                    Greg Zuerlein

                    If they're healthy, that takes the number to 37.

                    The next group are "near-locks," who are players that have the inside track to a roster spot:

                    Austin Blythe
                    Malcolm Brown
                    Michael Thomas
                    Ethan Westbrooks
                    Morgan Fox
                    Bryce Hager
                    Ramik Wilson
                    Troy Hill
                    Marquis Christian
                    Blake Countess

                    That gets you to 47.

                    So... if I'm right and all of these guys make the team, that leaves only 6 roster spots (not counting practice squad) for the remaining prospects to fight over.

                    My current favorites are:

                    Temmarick Hemmingway
                    Darrell Williams
                    John Kelly
                    Tanzel Smart
                    Ejuan Price
                    Justin Lawler...
                    -05-01-2018, 01:44 PM
                  • AvengerRam
                    RFE's Post-Draft Rams Roster Breakdown
                    by AvengerRam
                    Here is my breakdown of the roster after the draft by position (number of players likely to be on 53 man roster in parenthesis).

                    Quarterbacks (2-3)

                    Locks: Jared Goff, Sean Mannion
                    Likely: Aaron Murray

                    I think the QBs who will be on the roster are already signed. The only question is whether the Rams will keep 2 or 3 QBs on the roster.

                    Running Back/Fullback (4-6)

                    Locks: Todd Gurley, Lance Dunbar
                    Likely: Malcolm Brown, Sam Rogers

                    Aaron Green is the incumbent with the inside track to a roster spot, but UFA Justin Davis may have a shot as well.

                    Wide Receiver (5-6)

                    Locks: Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds
                    Likely: Tavon Austin, Pharoh Cooper

                    I considered listing Austin and Cooper as “locks,” but the fact that the new regime has signed one and drafted two WRs makes me think that perhaps they are not all that high on the incumbents. That said, unless a trade can be worked out for Austin, he'’ll definitely be on the roster, and I’'d be very surprised if Cooper did not ultimately make it (particularly given the fact that he might be our best kickoff returner with Benny Cunningham gone). If there is a sixth spot, I’d say that Mike Thomas has the best chance, followed by Bradley Marquez and Nelson Spruce.

                    Tight End (2-4)

                    Locks: Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett
                    Likely: Temmarick Hemmingway

                    Not a lot of uncertainty here.

                    Offensive Line (8-9)

                    Locks: Andrew Whitworth, Rodger Saffold, John Sullivan, Rob Havenstein, Greg Robinson
                    Likely: n/a

                    Robinson is a lock only because of his contract. I’m not certain he’ll be a starter. I don'’t have any in the “likely” category because I don’t see any presumptive favorites among players like Cody Wichmann, Jamon Brown and Andrew Donnal. I also think there is a significant likelihood that the Rams will add a veteran FA or two before the season starts.

                    Defensive Line (6-7)

                    Locks: Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Dominique Easley
                    Likely: Tyrunn Walker, Tanzel Smart, Ethan Westbrooks

                    I think the Rams are fairly well set here. There may be some camp battles, but these six should all be there on opening day.

                    Linebacker (6-8)

                    Locks: Robert Quinn, Connor Barwin, Alec Ogletree
                    Likely: Mark Barron, Samson Ekuban, Ejuan Price, Josh Forrest

                    I could be 100% wrong, but I still think Barron is a misfit in this defense, and could be a guy the Rams might offer in a trade. Either way, my list is short on ILBs, so the Rams could look to add some veteran depth there.

                    Defensive Backs (7-9)

                    Locks: Trumaine Johnson, Kayvon Webster, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Mo Alexander, Lamarcus Joyner, John Johnson
                    Likely: E.J. Gaines, Cody Davis

                    I think the Rams have enough for now. Given that Johnson, Alexander...
                    -05-03-2017, 09:49 AM
                  • Nick
                    Rams depth chart: An insurance policy, and rookies who could become starters
                    by Nick
                    Rams depth chart: An insurance policy, and rookies who could become starters
                    By Vincent Bonsignore Apr 30, 2019 4

                    The​ Rams did a good job​ this​ offseason​ of addressing some​ major areas of​ need, both​ in the​ short and long​ term. Also,​​ when it comes to a worst-case scenario with Todd Gurley, they secured a rookie insurance policy.

                    The draft yielded a Week 1 starter in Washington nose tackle Greg Gaines, plus a nickel-package strong safety in Taylor Rapp (also from Washington) and a potential nickel cornerback in Michigan’s David Long. Long and Rapp are expected to contend for starting gigs in 2020 and 2021, when full-time spots open up.

                    Memphis running back Darrell Henderson, a third-round pick — somewhat surprisingly — adds an immediate presence as a change-of-pace back to complement Gurley and gives a dynamic new toy to coach Sean McVay. But given the uncertain long-term status of Gurley’s left knee — and the Rams’ potential plan to reduce his workload — Henderson could be in line for major playing time in 2019 and beyond.

                    With the draft completed, here’s look at the Rams’ depth chart, with some notes:

                    Quarterback: Jared Goff, Blake Bortles, Brandon Allen

                    Running back: Todd Gurley, Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson (R), Justin Davis, John Kelly, Matthew Colburn (R)

                    X receiver: Brandin Cooks, Mike Thomas

                    Slot receiver: Cooper Kupp, JoJo Natson, Austin Proehl, Alex Bachman (R), Nsimba Webster (R)

                    Z receiver: Robert Woods, Josh Reynolds, KhaDarel Hodge

                    Tight end: Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett, Johnny Mundt, Romello Brooker (R), Keenan Brown (R), Kendall Blanton (R)

                    Left tackle: Andrew Whitworth, Bobby Evans (R)

                    Left guard: Joseph Noteboom, Jamil Demby, Kyle Murphy, Brandon Hitner (R)

                    Center: Brian Allen, Vitas Hrynkiewicz (R)

                    Right guard: Austin Blythe, Aaron Neary, Chandler Brewer (R)

                    Right tackle: Rob Havenstein, David Edwards (R), Darrell Williams

                    Defensive tackle: Aaron Donald, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Marquise Copeland (R), Tyrell Thompson (R)

                    Nose tackle: Greg Gaines (R), Tanzel Smart

                    Defensive end: Michael Brockers, John Franklin-Myers, Morgan Fox

                    Sam linebacker: Dante Fowler Jr., Clay Matthews Jr., Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

                    Mike linebacker: Cory Littleton, Travin Howard, Troy Reeder (R)

                    Mo linebacker: Micah Kiser, Dakota Allen (R), Natrez Patrick (R)

                    Will linebacker: Samson Ebukam, Justin Lawler, Trevon Young, Landis Durham (R)

                    Cornerback: Marcus Peters, Troy Hill, Darious Williams, Kevin Peterson

                    Cornerback: Aqib Talib, David Long (R), Ramon Richards

                    Slot cornerback: Nickell Robey-Coleman, Dont’e Deayon, Dominique Hatfield

                    Strong safety: Eric Weddle, Taylor Rapp (R), Blake Countess,...
                    -05-04-2019, 05:27 AM
                  • Nick
                    Rams rest most of their starters in preseason loss to Chargers
                    by Nick
                    Rams rest most of their starters in preseason loss to Chargers
                    Alden Gonzalez
                    ESPN Staff Writer

                    LOS ANGELES -- Turns out the "Fight For L.A." wasn't nearly as important as the fight for good health.

                    The Los Angeles Rams sat the majority of their starters in their highly anticipated matchup against the neighboring Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night, for a third preseason game that is traditionally treated as a regular-season dress rehearsal.

                    Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum hosted an announced crowd of 58,561, though a rough guess at the number who actually showed up was probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000. And the Rams suffered their first preseason loss by a 21-19 score. Backup kicker Travis Coons, who earlier hit from 53 yards, missed what would've been the go-ahead 33-yard field goal, and Dan Orlovsky, the third-string quarterback, couldn't stage a winning drive while backed up deep in his own territory.

                    Below is a look at what stood out.

                    QB depth chart: Jared Goff made a couple of key mistakes and thus ended his preseason on a sour note. On his first drive, Goff -- trying to build on a very encouraging performance seven days earlier in Oakland -- was stripped by Joey Bosa at the Chargers' 24-yard line, allowing Melvin Ingram to scoop up the football and return it 76 yards for a touchdown. On his second pass after that play, he threw his first preseason interception while overthrowing Sammy Watkins by a wide margin. Goff finished 5-of-8 for 56 yards. He made some impressive plays early, making a 16-yard connection with Robert Woods and showing great pocket awareness to find an open Malcolm Brown for what became a 22-yard gain. But Goff wasn't consistent, and that's what the Rams' coaches need to see from him. Backup Sean Mannion had another solid game, going 16-of-29 for 214 yards and a touchdown.

                    When it was starters vs. starters, the Rams looked ...: Sluggish. But very few of their starters actually suited up, particularly on defense. The only solidified defensive starters on the field were cornerback Trumaine Johnson and defensive back Lamarcus Joyner. On the Chargers' first series, the Rams allowed Travis Benjamin to beat them badly over the top for a 45-yard touchdown. On the Chargers' second offensive series, after Goff's interception, they gained 54 yards on nine plays, finishing their drive with a 2-yard touchdown run by Melvin Gordon. Woods had the most productive day for the Rams' first-team offense, with a couple of catches for 23 yards. The offensive line allowed a lot of pressure on Goff, but veterans Andrew Whitworth, Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan played only the first two series.

                    One reason to be concerned: First-year Rams coach Sean McVay chose to sit most of his starters, and now you have to wonder if they've built enough continuity for when games start to count. Nine starters were kept out, including...
                    -08-27-2017, 07:09 AM