From the RamCave: 2/18/22

This is a mid-February look at the Rams roster. What we know, what we don’t know. Some names I’ve omitted (J.J. Koski, Kareem Orr) who were stopgaps and don’t even rate as prospects.

While the skill positions are apparent, the players in the trenches aren’t. The Rams invested time in players like Morgan Fox, Sebastian Joseph-Day, and Greg Gaines, and prior to payoff they were little more than Practice Squad members.

On the offensive line, it is possible someone may emerge like Brian Allen did this season. So we’re a little more name-heavy with the offensive & defensive lines.

Joseph Noteboom

Offensive Line:
Free Agents: Austin Corbett, Brian Allen, Joseph Noteboom, Coleman Shelton
Returning: Rob Havenstein, David Edwards
Wildcard: Andrew Whitworth.
Prospects: Bobby Evans (3rd/97, 2019), Alaric Jackson (T),Jamil Demby (6th/192, 2018)

Names: Center: Jeremiah Kolone, Drake Jackson
Guard: Chandler Brewer, 
Tackle: Adrian Ealy, Max Pircher, Tremayne Anchrum

Note: Corbett, Edwards, and Allen cost the Rams next to nothing. (Corbett & Allen made 2.5 combined)
The dough of the offensive line is wrapped up at tackle in Whitworth & Havenstein. Whitworth’s possible retirement could free money up to retain a Joseph Noteboom and give some money to either Allen or Corbett. It seems one of them has to go, because the team needs to get stronger/more physical.

Kendall Blanton

Tight-Ends:
Free Agents: Johnny Mundt
Returning: Tyler Higbee
Prospects: Kendall Blanton, Brycen Hopkins, Jacob Harris
Note: Mundt has made next to nothing as a blocking tight-end, but it’s hard to believe there’s a market for him. It was one game, but Blanton showed he can play and that he can block. Before the Super Bowl it looked like Hopkins was on his way out, but now he’s a either a light tight-end or a big receiver. Jacob Harris? Seems like he’s a more athletic version Hopkins. Which leaves us with Higbee, who makes 8-rocks…and could be, could be, a candidate to release for cap reasons.

Van Jefferson

Wide Receivers:
Free Agents: Odell Beckham Jr.
Returning: Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Van Jefferson
Prospects: Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell
Note: The Rams, likely, head into 2022 with the same receiving trio they opened 2021 with. Woods will be back, Atwell will be back—hopefully, ready to contribute. Skowronek will rejoin the special teams and make an occasional guest appearance with the offense. The injury to OBJ sets him up for a mid-season return. He has no market, and he’ll be cheap…and ready to contribute come January. Where else is he going to go?

Running Backs:
Free Agents: Sony Michel
Returning: Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson
Prospects: Jake Funk, Xavier Jones, Raymon Calais
Notes: Thank you, Sony, go get some money and playing time because neither are available in Los Angeles. Akers and Henderson compliment each other, but both are susceptible to injury. McVay likes Funk…but don’t be surprised to see them take a running back in the sixth or seventh round.

Bryce Perkins

Quarterbacks:
Free Agents: John Wolford
Returning: Matthew Stafford
Prospect: Bryce Perkins
Note: We talked about this on Thursday. Wave by to the Wolf…and embrace Perkins as the #2.

Defensive Line
Free Agents: Sebastian Joseph-Day
Returning: Aaron Donald, A’Shawn Robinson, Greg Gaines
Prospects: Bobby Brown III, Marquise Copeland, Michael Hoecht, Jonah Williams
Note: Joseph-Day might be cheaper to keep, but it would be tough to cut Robinson loose after this season and post-season. One of them is going to have to go because of the cap. All the prospect names are just bodies. Guys coming from the world of Fox and Gaines hoping to get a second contract. Brown, however, is a fourth-round pick. He played a little this year, and should play a lot next with either a Joseph-Day or Robinson departure.

Linebackers:
Free Agents: Travin Howard, Troy Reeder
Returning: Ernest Jones, 
Prospects: Zero.
Note: This area is thin because it’s hard to see the team giving much money to either Reeder or Howard. Then, again, it’s hard to envision any team giving money to Reeder or Howard.
Expect this to be an area of focus in the draft. Would love to see Howard come back for the right price.

Edge:
Free Agents: Von Miller, Ogbo Okoronkwo
Returning: Leonard Floyd, Justin Hollins, Terrell Lewis
Prospects: Chris Garrett, Ernest Brown IV, Justin Lawler
Note: Okoronkwo is going the Samson Ebukam route. Draft investments have been made in both Lewis and Brown so they’ll get a shot. Justin Hollins played very well, but not spectacular. If Miller walks, this is a sold group. If Miller stays then this unit is elite.

Darious Williams

Cornerbacks:
Free Agents: Darious Williams, Dont’e Deayon
Returning: Jalen Ramsey, David Long Jr., Robert Rochell
Prospects: Zero
Note: Long played well down the stretch, and Rochell is a recent draft investment. Deayon might stay because he’ll be cheap. Williams? His market value right now is 14-rocks. You want to give 14-rocks to Darious Williams after this season? Unless he decides he wants to run it back—and forgo his prime money making years—he walks and the Rams draft a corner.

Safeties:
Returning: Jordan Fuller, Nick Scott, Taylor Rapp
Prospect: Terrell Burgess
Note: They’re all back, but Scott should replace Rapp as the starter. Sooner or later this team is going to have to make a decision on Burgess—a third round, 104th overall selection in 2020. If there’s a cap crisis, and Scott doesn’t regress, Rapp could be a cap casualty.

Kicker: Matt Gay (Free Agent)—Sign him.
Punter: Johnny Hekker (Save 2-Rocks by releasing him)
In 2020, Hekker was the 25th best in the league. In 2021, he was ranked 14th…but he costs 3-Rocks.

Names Mentioned as Potential Draft Picks

3rd. 4th 6th 7th
Memphis,C, Dylan Parham Miami-Ohio, Edge, Dominique Robinson Indiana, LB, Micah McFadden Tulsa, WR, Josh Johnson
Southern Utah, LT, Braxton Jones Cincinnati, CB, Coby Bryant Dylan Parham Ohio St., CB-S, Sevyn Banks
Washington, G-T, Jaxon Kirkland Texas A&M, Edge, Michael Clemons USC, CB, Isaac Taylor-Stuart
Michigan, G-T, Andrew Stueber Iowa St., QB, Brock Purdy
Notre Dame, C, Jarrett Patterson
Alabama, RB, Brian Robinson

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