Next week, the Los Angeles Rams will have difficult decisions to make. Unlike a few years ago when teams had to get down from 75 to 53 in the final round of roster cuts, now there is only one round of cuts, which means almost 40 players will need to be let go before the first regular-season game.
In the Rams’ case, those choices will most likely come at wide receiver and defensive back. Below is a final 53-man roster prediction.
While there has been competition for a third quarterback spot between Brandon Allen and John Wolford, it’s highly unlikely that the Rams end up keeping three. The most likely scenario is for Wolford to get cut and end up on the team’s practice squad. It simply is not an efficient roster building strategy to hold three passers.
Cut: Brandon Allen, John Wolford
These four seem to have a lock on the top-four running back spots, and it would be surprising if the Rams kept a fifth running back. The question coming into training camp was whether or not Kelly would make the roster. He’s rushed for 53 yards this preseason, which is second on the team behind Henderson, and seemingly enough to hold down his roster spot.
Cut: Matt Colburn, Justin Davis
This is going to be one of the tougher positions for the Rams to make cuts. The top-four is set in stone, but it’s the fifth and sixth spots that have been wide open with nobody separating from the pack.
Nsimba Webster leads the team in receptions and yards. Given his preseason work, it will be challenging to keep him off of the roster. If he doesn’t make it, he’ll undoubtedly be a practice squad candidate, and KhaDarel Hodge would be the player to take his place.
It may not be popular, but Mike Thomas should also have a place on the roster. It’s clear that McVay and the Rams like him. He’s caught 6-of-8 targets for 111 yards so far this preseason.
This is a position that will come down to the final preseason game. The biggest issue that the Rams will have when making cuts is that there are players who are deserving but not needed due to the depth of the team’s pass-catchers. Those players also may not contribute on special teams. Then you have the players who would help on special teams, but not contribute on offense. It’s all going to come down to what the Rams value and if they can teach special teams to the players who haven’t shown value there as of yet.
Cut: KhaDarel Hodge, JoJo Natson, Alex Bachman, Austin Proehl, Jalen Green, Johnathan Lloyd
There was some speculation that Keenan Brown, Kendall Blanton, or Romello Brooker would push Johnny Mundt for the final roster spot. That hasn’t been the case. Mundt has five of the six receptions by a Rams tight end this preseason
Cut: Kendall Blanton, Romello Brooker, Keenan Brown
It would not be surprising if the Rams pick at the waiver wire after other teams make cuts in an effort to add depth. The Rams have the 20th ranked offensive line in terms of pass-blocking efficiency in the preseason. While that doesn’t speak to the Rams starters, it does speak to the lack of starting-caliber depth that they have.
Vitas Hrynkiewicz will be a practice squad candidate as he’s been a pleasant surprise as an undrafted rookie. Jamil Demby is the surprise cut here, but he hasn’t had a good preseason and will be a candidate for the practice squad. Chandler Brewer takes his place as he’s one of four players on the offensive line to play more than 140 snaps.
Cut: Jamil Demby, Brandon Hitner, Matt Kaskey, Jeremiah Kolone
Suspended: Aaron Neary
This is an exciting group with a lot of potential. If the Rams only keep six, Marquise Copeland could be replaced by Morgan Fox and then be a candidate for the practice squad. However, Copeland has played the most snaps in the preseason and has performed well in those snaps.
Sebastian Joseph-Day will sit the final preseason game, meaning he has a roster spot locked up as well.
This position took a twist after Micah Kiser got hurt and will be lost for a good portion of the season at minimum. The injury opened up a roster spot for a player who may not have otherwise made the roster and subsequently turned this into a position to watch as roster cuts are made.
Cory Littleton, Clay Matthews, Samson Ebukam, and Dante Fowler Jr. didn’t play in the preseason; therefore they are seen as the starters. Hager didn’t have a great preseason, but he’s the most experienced linebacker on the roster.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo might be the most impressive out of the group. After suffering an injury last season and being a question mark for the roster, he’s been one of the more impressive players when he’s on the field. The same can be said for undrafted rookie Natrez Patrick.
Travin Howard had a terrific performance against the Broncos and will make a late push for the roster. He had 8 tackles in 25 snaps and could provide depth at inside linebacker along with Dakota Allen.
Darious Williams and Kevin Peterson have each had good preseasons, but it’s going to be challenging to keep one, let alone both. Donte Deayon can play in the slot behind Robey-Coleman which gives him value. The ‘issue’ here is that the Rams have a lot of good players, but not a lot of roster spots to provide.
The surprise player here is Jake Gervase, but he’s played well on defense and played the most snaps on special teams in the preseason. He brought to the Rams exactly what he brought to Iowa, and that’s being in the right place at the right time. The undrafted rookie recorded a fumble recovery against the Dallas Cowboys.
Seventh-round selection, Nick Scott, gets the short end of the stick here, but he could be a practice squad candidate.
Cut: Nick Scott
Special Teams (3)
Nothing to see here. This special teams trio had a 15/10 chance to make the roster before the preseason, and it remains that way. This has been one of the best groups in the NFL, and there is no reason to change that.
Cut: Brock Miller