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Rams depth chart: An insurance policy, and rookies who could become starters

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  • Rams depth chart: An insurance policy, and rookies who could become starters

    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, Marqui Christian, Nick Scott

    Free safety: John Johnson, Steven Prater

    Special teams:
    Punter: Johnny Hekker

    Kicker: Greg Zuerlein

    Long snapper: Jake McQuaide

    — There are reports Todd Gurley is suffering from knee arthritis, which explains the drafting of Memphis home-run hitter Darrell Henderson in the third round and the re-signing of Malcolm Brown. There is also intrigue with John Kelly, their 2018 sixth-round pick from Tennessee who flashed potential throughout the preseason, as well as Justin Davis, who is going into his third year after making the team in 2017 as an undrafted free agent out of USC.

    — The Rams are set at receiver, where Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds are all productive and under contract through at least 2020. Reynolds filled in nicely after Kupp was lost for the season in early November to a major knee injury, but the Rams are eagerly awaiting Kupp’s return. The Rams also will get back Mike Thomas, who missed all of last year with a groin issue, and they like KhaDarel Hodge.

    — The Rams got good news when Andrew Whitworth announced he’ll be back for another season at left tackle. On the other hand, losing veteran Rodger Saffold in free agency is a big loss. Joseph Noteboom, a third-round pick in 2018, is in line to replace Saffold. The Rams invested draft picks in Bobby Evans from Oklahoma and David Edwards from Wisconsin, and both will be in the mix. Brian Allen is slated to take over for John Sullivan at center. Austin Blythe and Rob Havenstein are set on the right side, and Jamil Demby, a rookie last year, offers upside at guard or tackle. Darrell Williams, Kyle Murphy and Aaron Neary all will be in the mix for backup jobs.

    — Cory Littleton returns at one inside linebacker spot, but the job alongside him is open. Micah Kiser, who spent his rookie season as a special-teams ace, is in the mix for a starting role.

    — The Rams signed Dante Fowler Jr. to a one-year contract. While they believe Samson Ebukam will take a big step forward in his second year as a starter, they also signed veteran Clay Matthews Jr., who will see plenty of action. A healthy Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, in his second year from Oklahoma, can provide heat off the edge in a situational role. Justin Lawler and Trevon Young are going into their second years and will get long looks during OTAs and training camp, as will 2019 draft pick Dakota Allen.

    — The addition of Washington’s Greg Gaines in the draft means a traditional run-stuffing nose tackle will replace Ndamukong Suh. Michael Brockers, the Rams’ dependable veteran, remains outside. The Rams are also high on John Franklin-Myers, who delivered two sacks as a rookie rotational pass-rusher last year, and Sebastian Joseph-Day, who spent his rookie year developing behind the scenes. Morgan Fox missed all of last year after suffering a knee injury and will be back in the mix as a rush end.

    — The signing of Eric Weddle to a two-year contract solved a big problem. John Johnson continues to blossom and soon will get a pay raise. The drafting of Taylor Rapp in the second round is a move for the short term and long term. He’s expected to get on the field as a rookie and eventually replace Weddle. Marqui Christian bounced back from a season-ending injury in 2017 to finish with 36 tackles last year, and Blake Countess is a valuable special-teams player and spot starter. Steven Parker shined last preseason and will get another shot to win a job on the 53-man roster. Keep an eye on rookie Nick Scott from Penn State, a special-teams ace.

    — The Rams are in fine shape at cornerback for 2019. But beyond next season, it gets dicey. Hence, the drafting of David Long from Michigan in the third round.

    — The Rams’ special-teams unit is second to none, and with punter Johnny Hekker and long snapper Jake McQuaide signed through 2022 and 2020, respectively, it is in good shape. Kicker Greg Zuerlein is set to become a free agent after next season, but he’ll be a priority re-sign.

  • #2
    This will be a contract year for legotron? Seemed like he was finally able to put his injury behind him and had a solid couple years. Hopeful he has another good one


    • #3
      I realize these positions will vary on a situational basis, but I cannot imagine the Rams signed Clay Mathews to back-up Dante Fowler. If anything I would see one of those players as the Will lb starter.

      Go Rams!


      • #4
        Originally posted by mde8352gorams View Post
        I realize these positions will vary on a situational basis, but I cannot imagine the Rams signed Clay Mathews to back-up Dante Fowler. If anything I would see one of those players as the Will lb starter.

        Go Rams!
        2009-2014 Clay Matthews? Certainly.
        2018 Clay Matthews? Hmm, I don't know.
        The more things change, the more they stay the same.


        • #5
          Originally posted by HUbison View Post

          2009-2014 Clay Matthews? Certainly.
          2018 Clay Matthews? Hmm, I don't know.
          Indisputable, Mathews isn't the player he was earlier in his career. But I'm willing to trust Wade Phillips has a plan in mind for CM. It's not likely as a pass rusher but it might involve setting the edge on run defense or another function. If we were simply looking for a back-up there had to be less costly options available.

          He will certainly operate as a mentor and locker room presence that contributes

          Go Rams!


          • #6
            Clay will start. But you are right. Not the player he used to be. Sad but true.
            Carolina Panthers @ Denver Broncos 2/7/2016 CBS 6:30PM EST Santa Clara CA!


            • #7
              Originally posted by JPPT1974 View Post

              Clay will start. But ... not the player he used to be. Sad but true.

              Often there will be a used car worthy of value, service and presence. I like used cars - had a '71 Chevelle under full, frame-off restoration with a freshly rebuilt Chevy 383 stroker (400 hp / 412 ft. lbs.); new 650 cfm carb; rebuilt TH350 tranny w/new torque converter; 3.55 posi; new front disk brakes conversion; electric fuel pump; new water pump. Many new parts, others refurbished bumper to bumper, roof to underside. Complete new Hotchkis sport suspension (stock height); OEM windshield, etc. x 3. Restored interior; Vintage brand A/C; upgraded stereo system.

              That was quite a project.

              IMHO, Matthews will be a fine used / restored muscle car for decent Ram power to boost our defense. Definitely not in the 700 HP range of say, a new Dodge Challenger with all its outrageous technology but ... should be good for fun burnouts and a bit of madness. Vroooom No. 52!

              Hopefully a productive, good and favorable project.

              Come on CM, don't let me down. (^_^)

              Below a) and b): Clay Matthews then ... and ... now. I hope.

              a) With Packers in the earlier part of his career.

              Click image for larger version

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              b) With Rams in the twilight of his career. Still strong, yes?

              Click image for larger version

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              Last edited by RealRam; -05-11-2019, 10:47 PM. Reason: Pics


              • #8

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                Darrell Henderson: Rams 'best system I could get in

                By Jeremy Bergman
                Around The NFL Writer /
                Published: May 19, 2019 at 02:29 p.m. / Updated: May 19, 2019 at 02:41 p.m.

                In the aftermath of Super Bowl LIII and Todd Gurley's slowdown at the end of the 2018 season, the Los Angeles Rams opted not to find another backup running back to boost the ground game in free agency. Instead, L.A. waited until the draft, specifically the third round, to grab their next tailback, Darrell Henderson.

                An undersized speedster out of Memphis, Henderson already feels at home with the Rams.

                "If you go back and watch my college film and you watch the Rams film, it's the same," Henderson told the Los Angeles Times this week. "I thought that was the best system I could get in. So everything worked out great. When I was talking to them, everything was clicking and we developed a relationship. The coaches told me they knew they were going to get me so it was the perfect fit."

                What you see on Henderson's college film is a lot of yards and a lot of house calls. The Memphis running back left college with 3,545 rushing yards on 431 carries and 36 rushing touchdowns (44 in total). Henderson averaged 8.2 yards per carry during his college career and 8.9 YPC during his final two seasons.

                While it's highly unlikely that, over the course of a season, Henderson will be able to keep up that pace against non-AAC defenses, the running back doesn't expect to carry the load in Los Angeles right out of the gate. Why should he, with a former Offensive Player of the Year in Gurley ahead of him on the depth chart?

                "Todd's a great guy and he's someone that every running back should want to learn from," Henderson said. "Getting to be there with him and getting to work with him every day is an unbelievable opportunity. I'm just going to take the knowledge he gives me and watch how he works and learn from it and bring it to my game."

                Henderson, along with Malcolm Brown, might have to spell Gurley more often in 2019 than the star back is used to. Gurley was uncharacteristically unproductive and sometimes absent in Los Angeles' final two games last season, including the Super Bowl. He and the Rams denied his relative lack of action (16 touches, 47 yards, TD) was due to injury, though Gurley had missed L.A.'s final two regular-season contests with a knee issue.

                The Rams' plans for Henderson were hinted at in a behind-the-scenes clip promoted by the team, in which general manager Les Snead said in the lead-up to drafting Henderson that the back has an "[Alvin] Kamara element." Rams coach Sean McVay said that Henderson had a "specific skill set" and could do "unique" things for the offense.

                While those terms describing Henderson don't scream "contender for the starting job," it's noteworthy that Kamara, also a third-round pick of the Saints and initially third on the depth chart behind Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson, was a lethal backfield option in his rookie season, averaging 7.7 yards per touch and scoring 13 touchdowns in his first year.

                Might Henderson have the same impact on the Rams in 2019?

                EDIT: Excellent highlights below (even if running against some pathetic / porous defenses). Looks like we have ourselves a shifty and quick RB in Henderson. He ran a 4.5 at the combine ... but I believe and hope he's got a 'CJ Anderson feel' for big, productive plays.

                Last edited by RealRam; -05-19-2019, 08:23 PM. Reason: Video highlights


                Related Topics


                • Nick
                  ESPN's Alden Gonzalez makes final 53-man roster projection
                  by Nick
                  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...
                  -08-31-2017, 07:25 PM
                • Nick
                  ANALYSIS: Rams Release First Unofficial Depth Chart
                  by Nick
                  ANALYSIS: Rams Release First Unofficial Depth Chart
                  Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 12:15 PM
                  Myles Simmons
                  RAMS INSIDER

                  Los Angeles released its first unofficial depth chart of the preseason on Saturday.

                  While there aren’t too many surprises, here are a few highlights from the list. Remember, the depth chart is unofficial and is subject to change at any time.

                  The offensive unit looks just about the same as it did on the final unofficial depth chart of 2017. The only change is Brandin Cooks now in as Los Angeles’ third wide receiver.

                  The starters are listed in ’11’ personnel, which is what the Rams utilized 81 percent of the time in 2017. In this personnel grouping, there’s one running back, one tight end, and three wide receivers.

                  Despite his two-game suspension to open the year, Jamon Brown is still listed as the starter at right guard. Fellow offensive lineman Austin Blythe — widely thought of as the current leader in the clubhouse to replace Brown at the beginning of the season — is listed as the backup center.

                  The rookie draft picks on the offensive line are all listed at third string — Joe Notebom at left tackle, Jamil Demby at left guard, and Brian Allen at center. Still, all three have been cross-training at other positions.

                  Back after a season-ending knee injury, tight end Temarrick Hemingway is listed as the third-string tight end behind Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett.

                  The defense looks significantly different to start the preseason with six new starters listed: nose tackle Ndamukong Suh, outside linebacker Matt Longacre, outside linebacker Samson Ebukam, inside linebacker Cory Littleton, cornerback Marcus Peters, and cornerback Aqib Talib.

                  Though he’s currently on the “did not report” list, defensive tackle Aaron Donald is still listed among the starters. Ethan Westbrooks is listed as the second-string defensive tackle. He’s been taking many of the snaps in Donald’s stead during training camp.

                  There are two rookies listed with the second-string defense: defensive end John Franklin-Myers and outside linebacker Justin Lawler. They’re behind Michael Brockers and Samson Ebukam, respectively.

                  Mark Barron is also listed with the starters at inside linebacker. According to head coach Sean McVay, Barron has been taking the walk-thru snaps at ILB next to Littleton, the defensive signal-caller. Ramik Wilson, however, has been repping at inside linebacker during practice to keep the wear and tear off Barron.

                  With the Rams listing their base defense — three down linemen, four linebackers, four members of the secondary — cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman is listed as a second-string cornerback with Sam Shields. Robey-Coleman, however, will likely start plenty of games to combat three wide-receiver sets.

                  Like the offensive...
                  -08-06-2018, 05:35 AM
                • 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
                • Nick
                  Manic Thursday: Rams do a lot, leave much undone
                  by Nick
                  Manic Thursday: Rams do a lot, leave much undone
                  8:09 AM ET
                  Alden Gonzalez
                  ESPN Staff Writer

                  LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Rams burned the candle at both ends Thursday, the first day free agents could sign contracts with other teams. It began with them addressing two of their most pressing needs through free agency a couple of hours after sunrise, and it ended with them cutting ties with four key veteran players a couple of hours before midnight. The Rams did a lot, but they also left a lot undone. Below is a look through it all.

                  What was done

                  A new left tackle: Nothing is more important right now than keeping Jared Goff upright, and the Rams took a major step toward that objective by signing veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who will be tasked with protecting the franchise quarterback's blind side. Whitworth is heading into his age-36 season, but he remains among the NFL's best pass-blockers. He was first-team All-Pro in 2015, and Pro Football Focus graded him second among tackles in 2016. His three-year deal, worth $36 million, guarantees him $15 million. But $12.5 million of that will be given to him in the first year.

                  A new primary target: Kenny Britt left for the Browns and the Rams replaced him with Robert Woods, the former USC receiver who signed a five-year deal that maxes out at $39 million. Woods' numbers since being a second-round pick by the Bills in 2013 -- 203 catches, 2,451 yards, 12 touchdowns -- don't jump off the page. He isn't necessarily a game-changer, and he probably won't stretch the field vertically all that much. But he's a good route-runner, an elite blocker, and he has reliable hands. It's a nice complement for the speedy, 5-foot-8 Tavon Austin. Most important: Woods is still a month away from his 25th birthday.

                  A lot more cap space: The Rams were awfully close to their salary-cap ceiling after these two signings, so they cleared up some space. They dealt starting defensive end William Hayes to the Dolphins, swapping a seventh-round pick for a sixth-round pick, and released three key veterans: center Tim Barnes, tight end Lance Kendricks and defensive lineman Eugene Sims. All told, those four departures freed up $15.6 million in 2017 salary-cap space, roughly two-thirds of which the Rams can use on other free agents. But it also left an assortment of holes throughout the roster.

                  A fresh arm: Quarterback Aaron Murray, who teamed with Rams running back Todd Gurley at Georgia, was also added. He enters as a depth piece, with the Rams still leaning toward having Sean Mannion be the backup for Goff in 2017. Murray was a fifth-round pick in 2014. He has since played for the Chiefs, Cardinals and Eagles, but has yet to receive a regular-season snap. His older brother, Josh, was a contestant on "The Bachelorette" a couple years ago. So there's that, too.

                  What remains

                  Get a new center:...
                  -03-10-2017, 09:01 AM
                • 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