Before the St. Louis Rams play their preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints this Friday, we’ll be ranking every player on the team, from the last man on the roster all the way up to number one. Obviously, it’s difficult to rank some of these guys because they don’t actually have any NFL game experience, so some of the players here could ultimately be far above or far below where they should be.
Today, we’ll rank the players who are really on the bubble to make the team, with the guy ranked 70th all the way up to 50. If you have any disputes or disagreements, feel free to let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @ArchAuthorityFS.
70. Christian Bryant, S
Unfortunately for Bryant, his recovery from a broken ankle last year at Ohio State has been slower than expected, and after being selected in the seventh round this May, he didn’t practice at all with the Rams until Monday. Despite his lack of size at 5-foot-9 and 198 pounds, Bryant was seen by many as a legitimate NFL prospect before his injury. If he doesn’t start showing something soon though, it will be really difficult for Bryant to make the roster. It may be better for the Rams to just put Bryant on the injured reserve list this year and get him ready to contribute starting next season.
69. Sammy Brown, DE
Brown, who had a pretty successful college career at Houston with 21 sacks over two seasons, has been a developmental guy in the Rams’ system for the past two years. The Rams tried him out at linebacker as a rookie, but he’s transitioned to defensive end since then. Unfortunately, it’s been difficult to gauge his progress, because he missed nearly the entirety of training camp last year and the first week of this year’s camp with injuries. Brown could be a nice special teams player, but after spending most of the last two years on the practice squad, he probably needs to establish himself this year if he’s going to make the team. Brown has some nice skills, but it’s likely that he’ll lose his spot to a less experienced player such as Michael Sam or Ethan Westbrooks.
68. Lawrence Wilson, LB
Wilson, who has been bouncing around the NFL since 2011, may be the guy in the best position to push Phillip Steward for the sixth linebacker spot on the 53-man roster. Through limited reps in the early part of training camp, Wilson has made a very good impression, especially during Saturday’s practice, when he made some big plays in the absence of James Laurinaitis. Wilson’s chances of becoming a long-term NFL player may not be that great since he has failed to stick with a team during the previous three years, but he may be able to find an opening with the Rams if none of the other young linebackers prove themselves.
67. Jordan Harris, WR
Because of all the receivers the Rams have on their roster from recent drafts (plus free agent acquisition Kenny Britt), Harris’s chances of making the 53-man roster probably aren’t too good. With that said, the rookie from Bryant University has been one of the pleasant surprises of camp so far. He’s made some impressive catches during team sessions, and he’s got a nice build that would make him a good fit on special teams. Harris’s performance in the preseason will be important, but if he plays well then maybe he could be a guy who sticks on the practice squad this year.
66. T.J. Moe, WR
Like Harris, Moe is facing a major roster crunch at the receiver position. But the former Mizzou product has shown some great quickness through early practices. In addition to that, Moe can be a punt and kick returner, and he’s been noticeable in many of the special teams drills early in camp. Moe probably isn’t going to make it as a wideout on this team unless there’s an injury, but he might have a chance as an all-around special teams contributor. He also still has practice squad eligibility, so that could be an option if he doesn’t make the 53-man roster.
65. Garrett Gilbert, QB
Gilbert, the Rams’ sixth-rounder out of SMU, was selected as a developmental quarterback who could compete for a third quarterback spot on the roster. Gilbert has not looked too good during the early days of training camp, however, experiencing errors with his accuracy and decision-making. We’ll know a lot more about Gilbert once we see him play in a few preseason games, but right now he’s looking more like a practice squad candidate than someone who needs to occupy a spot on the 53-man roster.
64. Darren Woodard, CB
Woodard, who originally came to the Rams as an undrafted free agent out of UTEP last year, has been solid but hasn’t really stood out during practice. With that said, he made some big plays during last year’s preseason, and that earned him a spot on the practice squad. Woodard has gotten a surprisingly large amount of reps during the early going this year, working with the first team as starting corners Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson have missed time with injuries. It’s debatable if Woodard will stay ahead of guys like E.J. Gaines and Greg Reid long enough to win a spot on the 53-man roster, but it’s clear that the Rams still think he has a chance at being a player.
63. Mitchell Van Dyk, OL
Van Dyk, a rookie seventh-rounder out of Portland State, was a tackle in college, but he’s gotten a good amount of work at guard during training camp. The 6-foot-7, 300-pounder is undoubtedly going to experience some growing pains as he transitions from FCS football, especially since he missed a large chunk of the offseason program while finishing school. He’s had some nice flashes early on, though. Due to the fact that Van Dyk is more of a project, it seems likely that he’ll end up on the practice squad this year. But with some work, Van Dyk may be a guy who develops into a starter down the road.
62. Greg Reid, CB
Reid, a 5-foot-8, 190-pounder out of Florida State, has some nice quickness and athleticism and could profile well as a nickel corner. In the early days of training camp, he’s also shown the ability to play on the outside. Even with injuries to guys like Trumaine Johnson, Janoris Jenkins, and Lamarcus Joyner, though, Reid has still been stuck with the backups while guys like Darren Woodard and E.J. Gaines have gotten chances instead. Reid was expected to have a legitimate chance at making the 53-man roster, but clearly he’s going to have to do more to prove himself.
61. Mike Person, OL
Obviously the Rams like Person, because they were willing to keep him on the 53-man roster even though he never dressed for any games. Person, who measures in at 6-foot-4 and 299 pounds, has some quality versatility and can play both tackle and guard. He’s part of a big competition for roster spots with several other young linemen, but right now it looks like he might be in the lead, as he’s been working as the second-team left tackle on most days.
60. Phillip Steward, LB
While he hasn’t really been a playmaker during the early days of camp, Steward has established himself as the leader of the battle for the sixth linebacker spot on the 53-man roster. After spending last year on injured reserve, Steward has a year of experience to build off of, and it looks like he’s using that to his advantage. Despite the fact that he hasn’t stood out too much, expect Steward to stick on the roster into the regular season and be a contributor to the Rams’ special teams units.
59. Ethan Westbrooks, DL
Westbrooks was impressive as a college player at West Texas A&M. He looked somewhat similar to Rams defensive lineman William Hayes, as Westbrooks rushed from every defensive line position and took advantage of both speed and power rushing skills. After going undrafted, Westbrooks signed a deal with the Rams which will give him a total of $50,000 in guaranteed money. While that doesn’t guarantee him a spot on the roster, it would seem to be an indicator that the Rams will be dedicated to his development. After missing the first week of training camp, Westbrooks has worked his way back to health. Though he’ll have to edge out players like Michael Sam, Sammy Brown, and Matt Conrath, Westbrooks definitely has a chance at winning a spot with a strong preseason. Even if he doesn’t make the active roster, Westbrooks will probably be on the practice squad at the very least.
58. Justice Cunningham, TE
It seems like Cunningham’s reps have dipped a bit as his competitors for a possible fourth tight end spot, Alex Bayer and Mason Brodine, have performed well in camp. However, Cunningham is still a solid player in his own right and could be a practice squad option if he ultimately ends up losing the battle to make the 53-man roster. Cunningham has some solid blocking skills, including the ability to work as a fullback out of the backfield, and he may end up being a solid backup for Cory Harkey if another one of the Rams’ tight ends should go down.
57. Matt Conrath, DL
Conrath, an undrafted free agent in 2012, is a guy who the Rams have had high hopes for in the past couple years, but he’s been held back each year by injuries. The 6-foot-7, 306-pounder has been healthy so far in this year’s camp, but he may have missed his chance at being a contributor now that the Rams signed free agent Alex Carrington and drafted Aaron Donald. This year Conrath has been adding some versatility and getting work in at left defensive end, where perhaps he could provide a Red Bryant-like presence off the edge. Obviously no one is going to take away Conrath’s size, so he’ll probably get another job somewhere if the Rams decide not to keep him around. With the roster crunch on the defensive line this year, though, Conrath is really going to have to impress during the preseason to win a roster spot.
56. Sean Hooey, OT
Hooey is an interesting developmental prospect who has spectacular size at 6-foot-9 and 325 pounds. After a year working in the Rams’ system on the practice squad, the next logical step would be for Hooey to move up to the 53-man roster this year. He’s gotten mixed results so far during training camp, as he has displayed good physicality but has looked rough in some of the one-on-one pass-rushing drills. If he sticks around, Hooey could be a guy who develops into a starting tackle for the Rams down the road, but first he’ll have to beat out players like Mike Person and Mitchell Van Dyk to make the team.
55. Demetrius Rhaney, OL
Rhaney, the Rams’ final pick in this year’s draft, has been another pleasant surprise so far during camp. He has shown some nice versatility, as he has worked at both center and guard. And the 6-foot-2, 300-pounder has consistently had great drive, playing to the whistle and pushing people back. Rhaney is going to face a serious uphill battle to make the 53-man roster because the Rams have three other centers and three guards who are locks to make the team. If they cut him and he makes it through waivers, though, Rhaney would be a very worthy practice squad candidate.
54. Travis Bond, OL
Out of all the new young players on the Rams’ offensive line this year, Bond probably has been the most impressive. He’s a mountain of a man at 6-foot-6 and 329 pounds, which would make him a great fit as an understudy for starting guards Rodger Saffold and Greg Robinson, who are similarly-sized. Obviously he has the size to play tackle, although with the Rams trying to evaluate several other guys at that position we haven’t seen Bond work on the outside, yet. The company message in the NFL is always that a team will keep their best group of linemen, regardless of position, though the Rams may prefer to have a dedicated tackle on the roster if they keep Davin Joseph, Barrett Jones, and Tim Barnes—all full-time interior linemen—as their other backups. That may be the only thing that works against him in his bid to make the active roster. If he doesn’t, he still has practice squad eligibility.
53. Mason Brodine, TE/DL
Having spent two years on the practice squad, Brodine needs to make the 53-man roster this year. The 6-foot-7, 284-pounder been doing everything in his power to make that happen, converting to tight end during the offseason, although he has moonlighted as a defensive lineman as recently as two weeks ago. On offense, Brodine has come along very quickly, using his exceptional physical presence to provide a boost as a blocker and also displaying some surprisingly good receiving skills. He’s made a few mistakes in his transition, but the combination of his versatility, physicality, and ability to play special teams give Brodine a good chance to make the regular season roster this year.
52. Matt Daniels, S
Daniels has looked good during the past couple training camps and preseasons, showing the potential to develop into a quality hard-hitting safety. Unfortunately, he’s been shut down by debilitating injuries in two consecutive seasons. While it seems wrong to let previous injuries affect a guy’s chances, the reality is that it will play a factor in whether Daniels makes the 53-man roster or not. He’ll be battling to stick around as a special-teamer this season, although the presence of second-year safety Cody Davis and rookie Mo Alexander means that he will face a roster crunch.
51. Isaiah Pead, RB
Obviously Pead has moved along slower than expected, as the 2012 second-rounder only has 17 rushing attempts for 75 yards in his first two NFL seasons. The one thing that he seemed to figure out last year (right as it seemed that he would be a logical candidate to get cut) was special teams. Pead made his presence felt as a gunner on the punt team, and the Rams talked him up this offseason as a guy who could be a key part of their special teams units. So far, though, it doesn’t seem like he’s getting an opportunity in training camp. He hasn’t gotten many reps from scrimmage at running back, and just based on the activity in special teams drills, it seems like guys such as Chase Reynolds are ahead of him as far as those units go. Despite his high draft status, this may be the year where the Rams finally decide that Pead is not going to contribute and choose to move on.