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Thursday, May 29, 2014
Rams' post-draft position outlook: DT

By Nick Wagoner

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- With the NFL draft and free agency complete, the St. Louis Rams' 53-man roster will probably come mostly from the players already on the team.

With organized team activities less than a week away, we take a look at where each position stands heading into next week. The next in the series continues today by examining the defensive tackles.

Who returns: Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford, Matt Conrath

Who is new: Aaron Donald, Alex Carrington, Deantre Harlan, Ethan Westbrooks

Who is gone: Jermelle Cudjo

Projected starters: Brockers, Langford

Pending competition: Much like defensive end, it looks like four spots here are already accounted for with the quartet of Brockers, Langford, Donald and Carrington in firm control. Within that group, there could be competition between Donald and Langford for the starting job alongside Brockers but coach Jeff Fisher has already indicated that Donald will get a lot of his work in sub-packages and passing downs. Really, it doesn't matter who starts the game because both Donald and Langford will play a lot. Carrington is something of the forgotten man but also could play a pass-rushing role on third down and will be in the mix as part of the rotation. Also like defensive end, any additional bodies here will likely be a fifth player who is a developmental prospect. Conrath is an incumbent but might have a bit of an uphill climb to land a roster spot for a third straight season after watching the team add Donald and Carrington and part with Cudjo. Westbrooks is an intriguing prospect, too, and one the Rams think highly of after handing him the largest ($20,000) signing bonus among the undrafted rookies.

Outlook: The Rams have to feel comfortable with the long-term stability and upside they have with Brockers and Donald likely to be around for a long time. Langford is still under contract for two more years and has only improved as he's gotten more comfortable playing inside in a 4-3 defense. Carrington's contract is only for a year but if he plays his role well, he could be brought back. The Rams have made major commitments to the defensive line and those commitments have paid off handsomely the past two years. Led by Brockers and the expected production of Donald, there's no reason to think this position, like end, is in anything but good hands for the foreseeable future.