St. Louis Rams Release Brandon McGee, Promote Christian Bryant


Apparently feeling a need for extra safety depth on Friday after Maurice Alexander was ruled out for this weekend’s game against the Arizona Cardinals with a groin injury, the St. Louis Rams promoted safety Christian Bryant from the practice squad to the active roster and released cornerback Brandon McGee.

Bryant, an undersized safety at 5-foot-9 and 198 pounds, was a seventh-rounder of the Rams last season and will be making his first appearance on the active roster after a year-plus on the practice squad. Bryant, who was a noted special-teamer coming out of Ohio State, has flashed skills that indicated he could hang with NFLers during both of his preseasons to date, but with the exceptional depth that the Rams already possess at the safety position, there hadn’t really been space on the roster for him until now. His addition to the 53-man roster makes the Rams’ 2014 draft look just a bit better, as two of their last five picks (none of whom were on the 53-man at any point last season) have made it to the active roster this year, with backup lineman Demetrius Rhaney and now Bryant earning spots. Bryant will almost certainly be up and active for the game on Sunday, otherwise it’s difficult to understand why he would have been moved up so late in the week.

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Though the Rams will be without Alexander, one of their better special teams players, on Sunday, it’s quite odd that an NFL team in 2015 would find it difficult to play a game with only four safeties on the roster (Rodney McLeod, T.J. McDonald, Cody Davis, and Mark Barron). With that said, Barron plays regularly from scrimmage in more of a linebacker role, so perhaps the staff didn’t want to risk the possibility of losing both their safeties and having to move Barron away from his usual role as a Swiss army knife. However, that’s a pretty advanced level of crisis planning considering that the team has had McDonald and McLeod on the field for virtually every play this season.

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McGee, a fifth-rounder in 2013, had just been brought back to the active roster on Tuesday, when he was promoted from the practice squad to fill the vacancy created by the release of Isaiah Pead. McGee, who had played in 18 games for the Rams over the previous two seasons before being released in the final cutdown this year, would have provided the Rams with some needed depth at corner, but they apparently felt more comfortable carrying their current contingent of four cornerbacks (really three if you consider that Lamarcus Joyner, realistically, is limited exclusively to the nickel position) than operating with a shorthanded safety group.

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