Rams 53-man roster projection ahead of 2nd preseason game

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The Rams have trimmed their roster down from 90 players to 85, releasing five before Tuesday’s deadline. There’s still a long way to go before they get down to the regular-season limit of 53 players, but we’re gaining some clarity with each passing week.

Ahead of their second preseason game against the Raiders, I’ve once again predicted who I believe will make the final roster, going position by position to break things down.

Quarterback (2)

  1. Matthew Stafford

  2. John Wolford

No changes here. The Rams are going to keep two quarterbacks, and two quarterbacks only. The only reason they will consider keeping three is if Bryce Perkins has impressed them enough to earn a spot on the roster out of fear that the Rams won’t be able to get him on the practice squad due to a team claiming him off waivers. Otherwise, it’ll just be Stafford and Wolford.

Running back (4)

  1. Darrell Henderson

  2. Xavier Jones

  3. Jake Funk

  4. Raymond Calais

Otis Anderson Jr. is the only other running back who could make the team at running back but he didn’t play any offensive snaps in the opener against the Chargers and will only have a shot to contribute as a returner. Henderson, Jones and Funk are all locked in as key running backs on the regular-season roster, with Calais likely to make it as a return specialist, too, but Anderson’s odds are long – even with Cam Akers injured.

Wide receiver (5)

  1. Robert Woods

  2. Cooper Kupp

  3. Van Jefferson

  4. DeSean Jackson

  5. Tutu Atwell

In my last projection, I had Ben Skowronek making the team. He fractured his forearm and is out at least a month, so he’s a candidate to start on the PUP list. Trishton Jackson could take his place, but for now, I’m going with only five receivers – which is enough to get by, especially with four of them playing the bulk of the snaps. Jackson is absolutely a candidate for the practice squad and still has a decent chance to make the team, but there are positions that need depth more than receiver.

Tight end (4)

  1. Tyler Higbee

  2. Johnny Mundt

  3. Jacob Harris

  4. Brycen Hopkins

I considered leaving Hopkins off the roster altogether because he simply hasn’t stood out or made much of an impact yet. Higbee, Mundt and Harris are all going to make the team and Kendall Blanton has a chance to, as well, but Hopkins has to get things going quickly if he’s to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.

Offensive tackle (4)

  1. Andrew Whitworth

  2. Rob Havenstein

  3. Joe Noteboom

  4. A.J. Jackson

The Rams have enough versatility on their offensive line that they don’t need to carry a ton of blockers on their 53-man roster. Noteboom can play guard or tackle, as can David Edwards, Bobby Evans and Tremayne Anchrum. Jackson is the wild card here because he’s an intriguing rookie who had a successful college career, but Coleman Shelton and Chandler Brewer are also vying for roster spots.

Center/Guard (5)

  1. Brian Allen

  2. Austin Corbett

  3. David Edwards

  4. Bobby Evans

  5. Tremayne Anchrum

No changes here from my last projection. Allen starts at center with Corbett and Edwards at guard. Evans and Anchrum can back up at both tackle and guard, giving Kevin Carberry and the Rams a lot of options up front. Nine offensive linemen should be enough for the Rams, assuming they’re comfortable with Corbett being the backup at center.

Defensive line (6)

  1. DT Aaron Donald

  2. NT Sebastian Joseph-Day

  3. DE A’Shawn Robinson

  4. NT Greg Gaines

  5. DL Bobby Brown III

  6. DE Earnest Brown IV

Jonah Williams, Eric Banks and Michael Hoecht are all fighting for spots on the roster, but there’s no guarantee any of them will be on it despite Williams and Banks playing well in the preseason opener. Brown and Brown should make the cut as rotational guys, given their draft status. They’ll need to show more in the preseason games to come, however.

Outside linebacker (5)

  1. Leonard Floyd

  2. Justin Hollins

  3. Terrell Lewis

  4. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

  5. Justin Lawler

Lawler was already projected to make the team in our last edition, but he solidified his spot even more with a dominant performance against the Chargers last week. He was all over the field in the first and second quarters, making five tackles and hitting the quarterback twice. Look for Lawler to be Leonard Floyd’s backup while the other three players rotate at right outside linebacker.

Inside linebacker (5)

  1. Kenny Young

  2. Ernest Jones

  3. Travin Howard

  4. Troy Reeder

  5. Micah Kiser

This group might be somewhat settled as the preseason progresses. Young, Howard, Reeder and Kiser all sat out the preseason opener, a sign that they’ll all have a role this season. Jones played, but only because he’s a rookie looking to gain experience. That’s bad news for Christian Rozeboom and Jake Gervase, who seem unlikely to stick around on the 53-man roster this year.

Cornerback (5)

  1. Jalen Ramsey

  2. Darious Williams

  3. David Long Jr.

  4. Robert Rochell

  5. Donte Deayon

Brontae Harris has a chance to be the sixth cornerback, as does Kareem Orr. But rather than adding a corner here, I decided to keep an extra safety, with J.R. Reed making it; he also has the ability to play cornerback, which is extremely valuable. Deayon is the only player who hasn’t yet locked up a roster spot, but he seems to be on his way to doing that.

Safety (5)

  1. Jordan Fuller

  2. Terrell Burgess

  3. Taylor Rapp

  4. Nick Scott

  5. J.R. Reed

Fuller, Burgess, Rapp and Scott are all going to make the team and be given roles on defense, with Scott doing a lot of work on special teams when he gets healthy, too. They can get by with four safeties, but with the way Reed played against the Chargers, he’s making a strong push for the final roster as a versatile defensive back. He was the 8th-highest graded defensive player in the NFL during the first week of the preseason.

Special teams (3)

  1. K Matt Gay

  2. P Johnny Hekker

  3. LS Matthew Orzech

Corey Bojorquez is still battling to be the Rams’ punter this season, but there’s been no indication that he’s supplanted Hekker just yet. Gay has no competition at kicker after Austin MacGinnis was cut, while Orzech is fighting to beat out Steven Wirtel at long snapper.

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