NFC West: Willie Williams

Roster counts by position for NFC West
Pos. ARI SF STL SEA NFL Avg.
QB 4 4 4 4 3.7
RB 8 8 7 8 7.4
WR 10 11 10 11 10.4
TE 6 4 5 5 4.8
OL 15 14 15 14 14.0
DL 10 9 13 13 12.7
LB 11 12 9 9 10.2
DB 14 14 14 12 14.0
ST 3 4 3 4 3.8
Totals 81 80 80 80 81.0
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

NFC West rosters are taking shape for training camp.

The Rams waived offensive lineman Kirston Pittman, defensive tackle Willie Williams and two receivers, Horace Gant and Travis Brown. That left them with 79 signed players, plus first-round choice Jason Smith.

The 49ers got to the 80-man limit by placing Walt Harris on injured reserve. The Cardinals, having released cornerback Tony Davis, also must reduce by one when they sign Beanie Wells.

Update: I initially forgot to move Harris to IR on my rosters. As a result, I missed the fact that the 49ers are at the 80-man limit. All square now.

The Seahawks balance at 80 players, counting their two unsigned picks. The team released defensive end Brandon Miller, who was injured, and signed defensive end Derek Walker, recently cut by the Redksins.

I've updated the 26-column NFC West rosters and made them available for download here. The file features information for every player who has spent time on each team's roster over the last couple seasons, plus information relating to roster composition.

Knowing how rosters change helps us anticipate moves. I'll get into this in greater detail when analyzing position battles during training camps. The chart shows a snapshot of the latest known roster counts for each team in the division, counting unsigned picks.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Rams Players Age 30 and Older
Pos. Age
Hollis Thomas
DT 35
Leonard Little
DE 34
Chris Draft
LB 33
James Hall
DE 32
Marc Bulger
QB 32
Todd Johnson
DB 30
Josh Brown
PK 30
Ronald Curry
WR 30
Randy McMichael TE 30

Newly signed defensive tackle Hollis Thomas becomes the oldest player on the Rams' roster. At 335 pounds, he also carries the highest listed weight among Rams players.

The Rams have parted with a long list of older players this offseason. Thomas projects as a situational run-stuffer. The Scouts Inc. report on Thomas described him this way, in part:

Thomas is primarily a run-stopper who often comes off the field in passing situations. He doesn't have a lot of speed and is missing burst and athleticism as a pass-rusher. As a run defender he is built low and does a good job of playing with leverage. Has good lower-body strength to play stout, with good awareness to locate and make plays in a short area. Shows good reactions and can stack it up quickly, showing good hand use and pad level. When taking on double-teams he will get narrow with his shoulders and try to split the mesh.

Provides a small target for combo blocks but will start to lose ground when attacked low. Has some success penetrating off the ball when attempting a quick swim move. Is missing overall quickness to run down [plays] or make tackles in space once he sheds or clears.

Overall, Thomas has limited pass-rush variety but is tough and physical against the run, playing low and using veteran recognition skills.

Thomas was with the Eagles when Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo was there. He presumably has familiarity with the defensive system Spagnuolo is implementing in St. Louis.

Pending additional moves, the Rams' defensive tackles now include: Thomas, Darell Scott, Clifton Ryan, Antwon Burton, Willie Williams, Adam Carriker and Gary Gibson.

Roided-out NFC West rosters: Week 20.5

January, 24, 2009
1/24/09
10:58
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

I've updated the NFC West roided-out rosters to include moves made this week. Those are available for download.

I'll tack on a Steelers version in the next edition, scheduled for Super Bowl week. In the meantime, let's take a quick look at players NFC West teams have signed to future contracts. These players will become part of the 80-man rosters after the Super Bowl.
Arizona: punter Waylon Prather, quarterback Tyler Palko, running back Justin Green, guard Ben Claxton.

St. Louis: receiver Nate Jones, defensive tackle Willie Williams, receiver Joel Filani, receiver Travis Brown, running back Samkon Gado, defensive end C.J. Ah You.

San Francisco: tight end J.J. Finley, tackle Joe Toledo, receiver Mark Bradford, linebacker Justin Roland and kick returner Michael Spurlock.

Seattle: defensive back Marquis FLoyd, tight end Joe Newton, receiver Michael Bumpus, defensive tackle Kevin Brown, tight end John Tereshinski, long snapper Ryan Senser, receiver Mike Hass and Receiver Billy McMullen.

Practice-squad update: Rams

September, 1, 2008
9/01/08
2:15
PM ET
Rams eligible for
practice squad
Pos.Current Status
Brock BerlinQB53-man roster
Chris LongDE53-man roster
John GrecoOL53-man roster
Donnie AveryWR53-man roster
Roy SchueningOL53-man roster
Chris ChamberlainLB53-man roster
David VoboraLB53-man roster
Derek StanleyWRPractice Squad
C.J. Ah YouDLPractice Squad
Russ WeilFBPractice Squad
Marc MagroLBPractice Squad
Lance BallRBPractice Squad
Dustin FryOLPractice Squad
Darius Vinnett
CB
Practice Squad
Mark LeVoirOL53-man roster (Pats)
Marques HagansWRPractice Squad (Chiefs)
Julius WilsonOLPractice Squad (Bucs)
Cortney GrixbyDBWaived
Nick CleaverTEWaived
Marcus RileyLBWaived
Donovan RaiolaOLWaived
Henry SmithDLWaived
Willie WilliamsDLWaived
Matt CaddellWRWaived
Tanard DavisDBWaived
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams have filled seven of eight spots on their practice squad. Cornerback Darius Vinnett was the notable addition; he previously slipped through the cracks when I listed Rams players with practice-squad eligibility.

Derek Stanley provides needed practice depth at receiver. Injuries continue to affect that position for the Rams.

The Patriots' signing of Mark LeVoir to their active roster surprised me. The Rams lack depth on the offensive line after placing Mark Setterstrom and Brandon Gorin on injured reserve. But the Patriots' might be even more desperate for help at tackle. New England has considered everyone but Bruce Armstrong as potential stopgaps at the position this summer. We'll see how long LeVoir lasts.

Update: The Chiefs signed Marques Hagans to their practice squad. Earlier in camp, a scout for another team asked me if I thought Hagans would earn a roster spot. Hagans' potential as a return specialist had caught his attention. 

Julius Wilson obviously has some talent. He went from the Dolphins to the Rams to the Bucs' practice squad in a short time period. Scouts must see potential.

I watched Wilson struggle terribly during the Rams scrimmage.

As noted then: "Defensive end Eric Moore beat [Wilson] for what would have been a sack on Brock Berlin. [Marc] Magro tossed Wilson to the outside and surged forward for what would have been a free shot on Berlin. Shortly thereafter, running back Lance Ball was gliding along for what should have been an easy touchdown, but a linebacker slammed him to the ground in front of Wilson as Ball crossed the goal line.

Rams eligible for
practice squad
Pos.Probable Status
Brock BerlinQBKeeper
Chris LongDEKeeper
John GrecoOLKeeper
Donnie AveryWRKeeper
Roy SchueningOLKeeper
Chris ChamberlainLBKeeper
David VoboraLBBubble
Derek StanleyWRBubble
C.J. Ah YouDLBubble
Russ WeilFBLikely cut
Marc MagroLBLikely cut
Cortney GrixbyDBWaived
Lance BallRBLikely cut
Nick CleaverTEWaived
Marcus RileyLBWaived
Donovan RaiolaOLWaived
Dustin FryOLLikely cut
Julius WilsonOLLikely cut
Henry SmithDLWaived
Mark LeVoirOLLikely cut
Willie WilliamsDLWaived
Matt CaddellWRWaived
Marques HagansWRWaived

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams' released 10 players in anticipation of the 53-man roster limit, which goes into effect Saturday.

I've singled out eight of them on our chart of Rams players with practice-squad eligibility. The eighth and ninth players released, veteran safety Jerome Carter, and cornerback Tanard Davis, have no such eligibility.

Expect the Rams to make their remaining cuts before the 6 p.m. ET deadline Saturday.

The Rams are carrying 66 players once they move Steven Jackson to the active roster from the exempt list.

Die-hard alert: Updated roided-out NFC West rosters here.

Earlier: The chart shows each of the Rams' players with practice-squad eligibility, according to the team.

Practice-squad rules can be confusing, and exceptions sometimes apply to relatively experienced players.

I've categorized each player based on his perceived likelihood of earning a spot on the 53-man roster. Those are rough characterizations. Teams still have not made decisions. It's conceivable that a player listed as a "keeper" could face his release.

(Read full post)

Practice-squad report: Rams

August, 29, 2008
8/29/08
12:20
PM ET
Rams eligible for
practice squad
Pos.Probable Status
Brock BerlinQBKeeper
Chris LongDEKeeper
John GrecoOLKeeper
Donnie AveryWRKeeper
Roy SchueningOLKeeper
Chris ChamberlainLBKeeper
David VoboraLBBubble
Derek StanleyWRBubble
C.J. Ah YouDLBubble
Tanard DavisDBLikely cut
Russ WeilFBLikely cut
Marc MagroLBLikely cut
Cortney GrixbyDBLikely cut
Lance BallRBLikely cut
Nick CleaverTELikely cut
Marcus RileyLBLikely cut
Donovan RaiolaOLLikely cut
Dustin FryOLLikely cut
Julius WilsonOLLikely cut
Henry SmithDLLikely cut
Mark LeVoirOLLikely cut
Willie WilliamsDLLikely cut
Matt CaddellWRLikely cut
Marques HagansWRCut

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The chart shows each of the Rams' players with practice-squad eligibility, according to the team.

Practice-squad rules can be confusing, and exceptions sometimes apply to relatively experienced players.

I've categorized each player based on his perceived likelihood of earning a spot on the 53-man roster. Those are rough characterizations. Teams still have not made decisions. It's conceivable that a player listed as a "keeper" could face his release.

As noted: Rosters spots are serious business for NFL players lacking job security. For some, the next 30 hours or so will determine whether they'll earn $17,352.94 per week or whatever the real world pays.

The minimum NFL salary is $295,000. Players get paid in 17 installments, one for every week they spend as a paid member of the organization.

NFL teams must trim rosters from 75 players to 53 players by Saturday afternoon. Teams can establish eight-man practice squads beginning Sunday. Practice-squad players earn a minimum of $5,200 per week during the regular season and playoffs.

Once a player signs with a practice squad, he can practice with the team. He becomes eligible to play in games only if a team signs him to its 53-man roster. Practice-squad players are free to sign with any team's active roster at any time during the season.

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