Ranking every position group on Rams’ roster, from best to worst

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·8 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Now that the Los Angeles Rams’ initial 53-man roster is set, we have a better idea of what this team will look like on Sept. 12 against the Chicago Bears. On paper, the Rams appear to be one of the best teams in the NFL, boasting top-end players on offense and defense.

But there are still a few weaknesses that could weigh this team down in 2021. Center and inside linebacker are two positions that are clearly lacking talent, while the edge-rushing group has already been impacted by injuries.

We’ve ranked every position group on offense and defense heading into the regular season, slotting them in order from best to worst.

Wide receiver

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The wide receiver room doesn’t have the top-end talent of a Jalen Ramsey or Aaron Donald, but from top to bottom, it’s the best position group on the roster. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are reliable and solid starter. Van Jefferson is a similar type of player, displaying great route running and good hands in his limited role as a rookie. Then there are DeSean Jackson and Tutu Atwell, the offense’s big-play weapons who can stretch the field and threaten the defense deep. Jackson will get more opportunities than Atwell, but both should have roles on offense. There are few wide receiver groups in the NFL better than the Rams’.

Quarterback

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Matthew Stafford may not be widely considered a top-10 quarterback right now, but he will be just that by the end of the season. His fit in the Rams offense is exceptional, with Sean McVay drawing up plays that will accentuate his strengths. Some believe the hype surrounding Stafford is overblown, but he’s a legitimate MVP candidate now that he’s surrounded by a great supporting cast. Stafford could lead the NFL in passing this season and set career-highs in yards and touchdowns. The Rams’ offensive line should hold up for him and his receivers are going to have no trouble getting open, making this a perfect match. It helps to have John Wolford backing him up, as well as Bryce Perkins in the third spot.

Defensive line

(AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

When you have Aaron Donald, your defensive line is going to be a major strength of the team. Donald is the best pass rusher in football and a complete game-changer on the interior of the defensive line. Sebastian Joseph-Day is no slouch, either. He’s become a stout run defender at nose tackle, playing extremely well last season in his second year as a starter. A’Shawn Robinson has slimmed down and improved his mobility, which should make him a better pass rusher at defensive end where Michael Brockers previously played. This trio will take pressure off of the Rams’ inside linebackers and if they can get help from the edge rushers, it’ll be tough to stop Los Angeles’ defensive front.

Cornerback

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The loss of Troy Hill definitely hurts because as polarizing as he was with fans, his versatility as an inside and outside cornerback carried value. But the Rams still have their two best cornerbacks in Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams. It’s one of the best tandems in football and should only get better as Williams gains experience. David Long Jr. will need to step up as the nickel back for the Rams, his first opportunity to be a starter after being a third-round pick in 2019. If he falters, teams will find success against him and avoid Ramsey and Williams in the passing game. Robert Rochell is the fourth cornerback on the team and while he has good upside and potential, he might need a year to develop into someone who can contribute on defense.

Offensive tackle

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Andrew Whitworth might be approaching 40, but he’s still one of the best left tackles in football. Rob Havenstein bounced back nicely last season, too, to get back to the way he played in 2018 when he was an elite right tackle. The pairing of those two holds the Rams’ offensive line together, especially with how often McVay likes to call outside zone runs where sealing off the edge is critical. Whitworth could be in for a Pro Bowl-caliber season protecting Stafford’s blindside, which would be one heck of a way to go out if he retires after this year.

Safety

(AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

It’s impressive that the safety group ranks as high as it does after losing John Johnson in free agency. It’s a testament to the talent of Jordan Fuller, Terrell Burgess, Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott. All four are capable of being starters for the Rams, with Fuller and Rapp likely getting the most playing time from this group. Rapp had an up-and-down season in 2020 while he was battling injuries, but he should be much better this year now that he’s fully healthy. If he plays the way he did in 2019, the secondary could be even better than expected. J.R. Reed and JuJu Hughes probably won’t play much unless a starter gets hurt, but their mere presence on the roster shows how deep this group goes.

Running back

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams’ running backs would’ve ranked higher on this list if not for the injury to Cam Akers. But even now with Darrell Henderson Jr. and Sony Michel leading the way, this group is a strength of the team. Henderson is a slasher with big-play ability, while Michel is a physical between-the-tackles runner who can do the dirty work in short-yardage situations. Jake Funk rounds out the running backs as someone who can spell the starters when needed, adding some athleticism to the backfield when he’s out there. Again, this group would’ve been even better with Akers leading the way, but it’s still a strong cast of players with good upside.

Tight end

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Even as disappointing as his time with the Rams was, Gerald Everett’s departure hurts the tight end room. He was a receiving threat in the middle of the field, more so than Johnny Mundt will be in his new role as TE2 behind Tyler Higbee. But fortunately, the Rams still have Higbee as their starter because he’s a well-rounded tight end who can block and also make plays in the passing game. Jacob Harris is the wild card here because if he develops quickly, he could become the Rams’ best red zone threat thanks to his size, leaping ability and overall athleticism. Few tight ends can run a 4.39 at 6-foot-5. Brycen Hopkins rounds out the depth chart as the third or fourth option, but he still needs to improve significantly.

Guard

(AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Austin Corbett and David Edwards will be the starters at guard this year, which is a formidable duo. However, it’s not going to blow anyone away. What’s particularly concerning is the depth behind them. Bobby Evans was supposed to be the starting right guard, but his play – paired with Brian Allen’s ascent – pushed him into a backup role. Guard isn’t a premier position so even if the Rams get just average play from Corbett and Edwards, it’s not the biggest deal. But talent-wise, there’s a slight gap between tight end and guard on this list.

Outside linebacker

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Leonard Floyd had a breakout season in 2020, which is what earned him an extension from the Rams. And even though he’s expected to keep up that high level of play, there are questions within this group beyond Floyd. Justin Hollins is a decent run defender, but he’s not going to offer much as a pass rusher. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is constantly injured, as is Terrell Lewis. And as promising as Chris Garrett is, not much should be expected of him as a rookie. If Hollins can emerge as a guy who records six or seven sacks, it’ll help the defense as a whole and take pressure off Okoronkwo and Lewis to stay healthy.

Inside linebacker

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Once again, the inside linebacker group is one of the weakest on the Rams’ roster. Kenny Young and Troy Reeder are projected to be the starters this season, with Ernest Jones and Travin Howard – two guys who weren’t on the roster last season – as the backups. Young had a great training camp and has taken over as a leader in the middle, while Reeder has hopefully improved in coverage, a major weakness of his game a year ago. The hope is that the combination of Young and Reeder is better than Micah Kiser and Young were last year. It’s not an unreasonable expectation, but this is by far the biggest weakness of an otherwise great-looking defense in Los Angeles.

Center

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Fans don’t have to go back too far to remember what the offensive line looked like with Brian Allen in the middle. Spoiler: it wasn’t pretty. Allen was overmatched and overpowered by bigger nose tackles and defensive linemen, struggling especially in pass protection. Clearly, the Rams feel better about him now that he’s fully healed from his knee injury suffered in 201, but there still shouldn’t be much confidence in him as a starter. And backing him up is Coleman Shelton, who isn’t exactly proven, either. Interior pressure is a quarterback’s worst nightmare and if Allen can’t hold up, Stafford is going to be on his back often.

1

1

1

1