Week 8: Rams rookie review

October, 29, 2013
10/29/13
4:30
PM ET
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- A look at playing time and performance of each of the St. Louis Rams’ drafted rookies and a quick glimpse at the undrafted rookie class in Sunday’s 14-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

WR Tavon Austin, first round, No. 8 overall: Austin was prominently involved last week in Carolina, but his role diminished a little bit this week as he played 21 snaps on offense and 12 more on special teams.

The Rams again struggled to get him open in space and Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner nearly took his head off on a telegraphed screen in the flat. Austin had two catches for 9 yards while being targeted three times.

Part of the good news about Austin’s new role as kick returner is that he still gets touches in that area when he’s not getting them in the pass game. He had three punt returns for only 7 yards but averaged 26.3 yards on three kick returns.

LB Alec Ogletree, first round, No. 30 overall: Ogletree was on the field a lot, playing 44 plays on defense and eight more on special teams but his impact was limited. Not that the defense was on the field to allow for many chances. He finished with a pair of tackles in the pressbox statistics.

S T.J. McDonald, third round, No. 71 overall: McDonald missed his fourth game of the year after suffering a leg fracture against San Francisco. He’s currently on the injured reserve/designated to return list.

WR Stedman Bailey, third round, No. 92 overall: Bailey remains the team’s fifth receiver and that’s a role that doesn’t yield any playing time offensively. He worked only on special teams, where he got 19 opportunities with no statistics of note.

OL Barrett Jones, fourth round, No. 113 overall: Jones was a pre-game inactive and did not play for the eighth consecutive game. He remains behind Tim Barnes as the team’s third center right now.

CB Brandon McGee, fifth round, No. 149 overall: Upon the return of cornerback Cortland Finnegan, McGee’s services were again rendered to special teams only though he’d only had a handful of snaps on defense anyway without Finnegan. He played 18 snaps on special teams and did not record any statistics according to unofficial pressbox statistics.

RB Zac Stacy, fifth round, No. 160 overall: Stacy has emerged not only as the team’s best offensive rookie but also perhaps its best and most consistent offensive player. He played 58 snaps on offense and put together the best performance of his young NFL career. He rushed 26 times for 134 yards before an ankle sprain kept him out of the game for a stretch on the team’s final drive. In the process, Stacy has nailed down the starting job so long as the ankle isn’t a major issue moving forward.

Undrafted rookie roundup: The trio of linebackers Ray Ray Armstrong and Daren Bates and safety Cody Davis continued to work as special teams stalwarts with Armstrong and Bates playing 19 snaps on those units and Davis playing 13 more. … Bates made the lone special teams tackle of the three according to unofficial pressbox statistics. … Armstrong also played a single snap on defense.

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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