The Los Angeles Rams finally kick off their preseason on Saturday against the Oakland Raiders. With football officially back, it’s “overreaction season” for the fans. Right now, what happens in camp and during these next four games are the only things that seem to matter.
The team released its first unofficial depth chart this week. Here are five takeaways.
Webster Leads Undrafted Wide Receivers
The Los Angeles Rams brought in Eastern Washington’s Nsimba Webster as an undrafted free agent to training camp to compete for a fringe roster spot. Many expected Alex Bachman from Wake Forest to be the guy to watch out for, but it seems to be Webster who has the early lead.
Webster is listed directly above Bachman behind Robert Woods and KhaDarel Hodge as the team’s “X” receiver. The undrafted receiver out of Wake Forest had some nice plays in OTA’s and has seemingly continued that into training camp.
The Rams most likely have six wide receiver spots open. Right now, it looks like Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds, JoJo Natson, and KhaDarel Hodge have the six under wrap, but Webster is making a push.
It’s also worth noting that fourth-year receiver Mike Thomas is listed third at the “Z” behind Cooks and Reynolds. He has a much better shot at the final-53 than fans are giving him credit for.
Slow Down on the Henderson Hype
The Rams drafted Darrell Henderson in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Many were worried that the drafting of Henderson meant the beginning of the end for Todd Gurley. Henderson is explosive as anybody and is very reminiscent of Alvin Kamara.
Some expected that Henderson would be the No. 2 or No. 3 running back alongside Gurley and Brown, however that has not been the case. As it stands, John Kelly is the No. Three running back behind only Gurley and Brown.
Meanwhile, Henderson is listed as the sixth running back ahead of only undrafted rookie Matt Colburn. This isn’t something to be overly concerned about. Many times, rookies have to work their way up the depth chart in training camp and the preseason.
However, it does speak to the depth that the Rams have. Kelly had an outstanding preseason last year as a potential steal in the sixth-round and Davis is on his third year with the team. Henderson is going to have to earn his spot to surpass those two players.
The Okoronkwo Stock Has Dropped
When the Rams took Ogbonnia Okoronkwo last season in the fifth round out of Oklahoma, it was thought that the Rams got a steal and that their linebacker problems were solved (at either EDGE or off-ball linebacker, Okoronkwo is exceedingly versatile). An injury in mini-camp put him on the PUP list, and then after he returned, he never saw the field.
Okoronkwo is listed as the fifth or sixth edge rusher on the team behind Dante Fowler Jr., Clay Matthews, Samson Ebukam, and Justin Lawler. He’s listed directly with Trevon Young. It seems unlikely that the Rams would keep five or even six edge rushers on the team, especially given the need for depth an inside linebacker with the lack of depth and experience. At the same time, this offers an opportunity for Okoronkwo, who has some inside linebacking experience.
Kolone Is The Guy to Watch On The Offensive Line
Jeremiah Kolone signed with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent out of San Jose State following the 2018 NFL Draft. However, he was cut before week one and then signed to the team’s practice squad. The Rams then released Kolone from the practice squad nine days later after bringing back Aaron Neary. After being cut by the Rams for a second time, Kolone joined the San Diego Fleet of the AAF. Kolone was the starting center for the Fleet before the league collapsed.
The Rams have a top-seven when it comes to the offensive line with Andrew Whitworth, Rob Havenstein, Austin Blythe, Brian Allen, Joseph Noteboom, Bobby Evans, and David Edwards all presumably having roster spots. That leaves one, maybe two spots up for grabs.
Kolone has experience with the Rams and this coaching staff and played meaningful minutes in the AAF. Right now, he’s listed as the backup guard behind Blythe. However, nothing is a guarantee. Jamil Demby is listed as the backup on the other side and had an excellent OTA period earlier this offseason.
Everett May Not Be the Breakout Player Fans Would Like
Year three was supposed to be the year for Gerald Everett. He was the first draft pick of the Les Snead and Sean McVay era. After a slow start to his career, he became a prime breakout candidate this offseason.
Well, the unofficial depth chart has been released, and Tyler Higbee is listed as the team’s starting tight end. Now, this isn’t a bad thing. Higbee is a solid tight end, and it also doesn’t mean Everett isn’t going to see snaps. The two players are going to share playing time and hopefully, remain on the field at the time.
However, with someone of the talent, athleticism, and hype of Everett, one would hope that he would take that next step and be the team’s starting tight end. Still, that doesn’t appear to be the case at this point. We’ll have to see if that translates to results on the field.