- Nick Wagoner, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
Examining the St. Louis Rams' roster:
(Note: WR Stedman Bailey is expected to make the team but is suspended for the first four games of the season and will not count on the initial 53-man roster.)
The devastating loss of quarterback Sam Bradford leaves the Rams with just the three players mentioned above on the roster. But let's be real, the Rams aren't likely to keep Davis and Gilbert on the roster and having Davis as the No. 2 is a questionable proposition in itself. It's probably safe to expect the Rams to pursue a veteran backup for Hill meaning Gilbert is listed here more as a placeholder than a projection.
RUNNING BACKS (4)
Isaiah Pead is officially on injured reserve, leaving these four in good shape but the intriguing name here is Trey Watts. He performed well against Cleveland and will get another chance against Miami. The Rams carried five last year and if Watts has another strong outing and proves capable on special teams, he might elbow his way into the mix.
With Bailey suspended the first four weeks, the Rams could take a longer look at another wideout for the first quarter of the season but there isn't one who has really emerged as worthy. Givens reminded many why he deserves to stick against the Browns but Pettis has been nearly invisible. Without Bailey, it stands to reason Pettis would stay but upon Bailey's return, that could change.
TIGHT ENDS (4)
The first three are probably pretty safe, but the Rams could have an intriguing competition for a potential fourth tight end if they opt to keep four. Cunningham vs. Alex Bayer continues to be one of the more interesting battles on the roster. Cunningham is the better blocker, while Bayer has shown more as a pass-catcher. It's really difficult to determine which flavor the Rams prefer but I'm going back to Cunningham because of his value as a blocker on special teams.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)
The Rams have serious questions about their depth on the offensive line. Barrett Jones' situation remains in flux and few of the backups have stood out. Washington finally got back to work against the Browns and played pretty well at left tackle. He can play inside and out so he pushes Travis Bond out for now. Some with the Rams like Bond, though, and he could still factor.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)
This is the toughest decision on the roster right now. Westbrooks and Michael Sam have both done enough in camp and the preseason to stake a claim to a spot. Jeff Fisher has hinted at a different look in terms of roster composition this year and it's not out of the realm of possibility they could keep both. It's hard to project where they could chop elsewhere to create space right now. Carrington hasn't done much in the preseason and I wonder how safe he is but with Brockers and Langford battling ankle issues, it seems the Rams need him right now. The other X factor here is Hayes' health. He has practiced but still not appeared in a preseason game as he returns from offseason surgeries.
Barring injury, it's hard to imagine a scenario in which the first five don't make it. But the sixth spot is more of a question mark. That spot is anybody's guess. Steward stays there for now but one would think it comes down entirely to special teams.
OK, so we are taking the plunge and adding a sixth corner here which seems even more likely with Johnson battling a knee injury. But it's not easy to choose one from the group of Roberson, Greg Reid and Darren Woodard. Roberson has flashed the most in coverage, Reid is the best tackler and Woodard is sort of the happy medium between the two. We'll go with Roberson because he's gotten the most opportunities, an indication the coaching staff likes his potential.
I've teased a possible change here for a couple of weeks but hesitated because it's been hard to figure out where the other roster spot will be allocated. But it's time to make the move because none of the other safeties have really done much of anything to stand out. It's possible that a player like Matt Daniels could get another shot because of special teams but the Rams would do so at the expense of a more talented player at another position. Plus, Lamarcus Joyner can play safety in a pinch.
It would take a serious injury to disturb this strong trio.