With the NFL’s waiver period having ended following the league-wide cutdown to 53-man rosters, teams around the league can now begin assembling their 53-man practice squads. Below we’ll list the players that the St. Louis Rams have decided to bring on to complete the group.
For a thorough explanation of the practice squad rules, check here. It’s worth noting, however, that with the recent modifications to the practice squad rules, teams may carry up to two players who have played in any number of games, so long as they have been in the league for two years or less.
Here are the players who are reportedly going to be part of the group:
Offensive guard Brandon Washington- reported by Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Washington will be beginning his third year on the practice squad with the Rams. Despite his standing as an unofficial member of the roster, Washington probably would immediately join the active gameday roster if any Rams linemen were injured, considering that the only lineman on the roster beyond the top eight, center/guard Barrett Jones, is out for at least a few weeks following back surgery.
Offensive tackle Sean Hooey- also reported by Thomas, Hooey, who begins his second year on the practice squad, will continue to develop on the practice squad in hopes that he can eventually be a solid contributor and take advantage of his massive 6-foot-9, 315-pound body. Hooey generally looked solid as a right tackle this preseason, though he struggled when pressed into duty on the left side.
Safety Matt Daniels- reported by Stephen Wiseman, Duke beat reporter for the Herald-Sun. Daniels is a bit of a surprise, considering that he was released at the cutdown to 75 players. But the third-year safety still holds value as a special-teamer and perhaps as a hard-hitting strong safety from scrimmage if he can stay healthy. Injuries have been Daniels’ primary issue in his two years with the Rams, as he’s ended both seasons on IR because of early-season ailments.
Wide receiver Justin Veltung- reported by Thomas, Veltung returns for a second year on the practice squad. The undersized receiver didn’t get too much playing time during the preseason, but obviously the Rams still value the second-year wideout enough as a returner to keep him in the system. Much like last year, when he became the Rams’ primary punt returner following a season-ending injury to Tavon Austin, Veltung could be the emergency return guy this year.
Defensive tackle Matt Conrath- reported by Thomas, this one is a bit of a surprise, as Conrath has already been on the Rams’ active roster for two years and seemingly had been replaced by Alex Carrington this offseason. However, the Rams must still hold some hope that they can get something out of the 6-foot-7, 300-pounder. Conrath’s signing may destroy any chance that rookie defensive end Michael Sam had of coming back to the practice squad. With that said, the Rams carried two defensive linemen–Sammy Brown and Mason Brodine–on their eight-man practice squad last year, in addition to the nine they had on the active roster. With that said, there are some other pressing needs on this year’s 10-man practice squad.
Linebacker Kevin Reddick- reported by Doug Kyed of NESN, Reddick adds depth at a spot where the Rams obviously did not bring in enough really talented players over the offseason. Reddick, who starred at North Carolina but went undrafted in 2013, played in 16 regular season games and two playoff contests for the Saints as a rookie last year. The 6-foot-1, 246-pounder was the star of New Orleans’ special teams units, leading the team with 13 tackles on special teams and a forced fumble. He also contributed two tackles on defense. Expect Reddick to serve as the Rams’ sixth linebacker and come up to the active roster should anything happen to Alec Ogletree, James Laurinaitis, Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Daren Bates, or Ray Ray Armstrong.
Linebacker Denicos Allen- reported by Thomas, Allen appears to be a virtual clone of Rams linebacker and special teams ace Daren Bates, measuring in at 5-foot-11 and 225 pounds. The undrafted rookie out of Michigan State has been described as an “eager overachiever” who can inject life into a team. Allen, who 278 tackles (46 for loss) over four seasons at MSU, picked up three tackles while playing this preseason with the Carolina Panthers. Allen gives the Rams some extra depth behind the five on their 53-man roster, and he’ll be squaring off with Reddick during practice to try to impress should any of the primary five go down.
Quarterback Garrett Gilbert- reported by Thomas, Gilbert gives the Rams a scout team quarterback and a guy who they can continue to try to develop after selecting him in the sixth round of this year’s draft. Gilbert has also been in the system since May and would be a viable backup if anything happened to Shaun Hill or Austin Davis.
Wide receiver Emory Blake- reported by Thomas, Blake begins his second year on the practice squad after showing some solid potential during the preseason. He’ll probably be battling with Veltung to stick around long-term once Stedman Bailey returns from suspension in five weeks.
Safety Christian Bryant- reported by Thomas, Bryant, a seventh-rounder in this year’s draft, is a guy who could eventually develop into a solid contributor on special teams or perhaps even from scrimmage. He showed some nice skills near the end of the preseason, but simply didn’t get enough reps after missing a large part of training camp recovering from a broken ankle that he suffered last season at Ohio State.