Roberson Headlines Rams’ Undrafted Free Agent Group


Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Rams announced the signings of 15 undrafted rookie free agents on Monday, several of whom were borderline draft candidates and could be rather intriguing. The most prominent name among the group was former Florida cornerback Marcus Roberson, a 6-foot, 190-pounder who just a few months ago was being featured in many experts’ first round mock drafts.

Roberson isn’t necessarily coming into a situation where he’ll have a great chance to make the team. The Rams have starters Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson already on hand, as well as 2013 fifth-rounder Brandon McGee, and they drafted Lamarcus Joyner and E.J. Gaines over the weekend to boost their cornerback corps. They also have kept former Florida State corner Greg Reid on the roster despite a rather lengthly jail stint, so he is obviously of intrigue. The Rams have only kept four cornerbacks on the 53-man roster for most of the Jeff Fisher era, so Roberson will likely have a real uphill battle to make the team.

One player who seemingly should have a good shot at making the team is former Bowling Green tight end Alex Bayer. He has a rather diverse skill set, having lined up all over the field at Bowling Green, and he is a solid run blocker with good athleticism. More importantly, though, the numbers game plays into Bayer’s favor. After switching to a run-based offense early in 2013, the Rams ran plenty of three and even four tight end sets. After the season, however, the Rams let go of Mike McNeill, who was their fourth tight end in 2013. The tight ends currently on the roster are their top three—Jared Cook, Lance Kendricks, and Cory Harkey—plus 2013 Mr. Irrelevant Justice Cunningham, who was added to the practice squad late last year. If the Rams keep four tight ends on the roster again, Cunningham and Bayer could be battling for a spot.

Two other players who provide intrigue despite long odds to make the roster are former West Texas A&M defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks and Mississippi offensive lineman Emmanuel McCray. Westbrooks, who played all over the defensive line in college, plays very similarly to current Rams lineman William Hayes. Though he’s not the biggest guy in the world, he has good strength and power and can provide a solid pass rush from any position. Unfortunately, he probably will begin camp as the Rams’ sixth or seventh option at defensive end, so he will really need to be overwhelming during camp just to have a chance at making the practice squad.

McCray, meanwhile, is a talented 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman who can play both tackle and guard. He needs some work on his technique, but he could be an interesting guy to keep an eye on as a possible depth player, particularly as a practice squad option. He, too, will face tough competition, as the Rams have an enormous collection of developmental linemen, including Brandon Washington, Barrett Jones, Mike Person, Sean Hooey, and 2014 draftees Mitchell Van Dyk and Demetrius Rhaney.