St. Louis Rams: 2014 NFC Roster Projection

St. Louis Rams' projected roster

August, 29, 2014
8/29/14
10:00
AM ET
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.)

QUARTERBACKS (3)
The devastating loss of quarterback Sam Bradford leaves the Rams with just the three players mentioned above on the roster. Davis is the No. 2 for now but the Rams will keep their eyes open for a veteran to add experience. These three could make the initial cut but the most likely scenario is they keep Hill and Davis and Gilbert goes to the practice squad after they locate a veteran.

RUNNING BACKS (4)
Chase Reynolds is difficult to leave off because of his value on special teams, but Watts has just offered too much upside for the offense and willingness on special teams to be left off. It wouldn't surprise if the Rams kept both but it's hard to do this without at least including Watts.

RECEIVERS (5)

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 versus 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. It's hard to project the depth beyond Joseph and Barnes but the guess here is the Rams do something to stash Jones and save the roster spot then opt for Person and Bond in a tight race over Brandon Washington and Sean Hooey.

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. At this point, it would be a surprise if Westbrooks didn't make it. 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, though. The other X factor here is the health of Hayes and Sims. Neither played against Miami and Hayes has yet to appear in a preseason game. Perhaps that could open the door for both Sam and Westbrooks to stay.

LINEBACKERS (6)

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 Lawrence Wilson and Aaron Hill could surprise. And the Rams will definitely scour the waiver wire for others.

CORNERBACKS (6)

With Johnson out four to six weeks, this looks like the spot that could keep Sam from making the roster. The Rams will have to carry Johnson on the roster but will probably need to keep another body for depth in the meantime. 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.

SAFETIES (4)

Put simply, the Rams don't have anyone else who has showed enough to earn a spot and Joyner could play safety in a pinch. Alexander and Davis are core special-teams players.

SPECIALISTS (3)

These three are set in stone.

St. Louis Rams' projected roster

August, 25, 2014
8/25/14
8:00
AM ET
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.)

QUARTERBACKS (3)
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.

RECEIVERS (5)

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.

LINEBACKERS (6)

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.

CORNERBACKS (6)

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.

SAFETIES (4)

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.

SPECIALISTS (3)

It would take a serious injury to disturb this strong trio.

St. Louis Rams' projected roster

August, 18, 2014
8/18/14
8:00
AM ET
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.)

QUARTERBACKS (3)
Bradford and Hill are locks. Gilbert is still in the lead for the third spot, though he hasn't done much in either preseason game. The bigger question is whether the Rams keep three.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

We elevated Reynolds last week when he played against New Orleans and Isaiah Pead sat with a finger injury. This week, Pead suffered a torn ACL and will miss the season, taking most of the guesswork out of this projection.

RECEIVERS (5)

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 Bailey plus the five listed here seem to be in pretty good shape. Of the wideouts who could theoretically serve as placeholders until Bailey's return, Emory Blake has been the most consistent and Austin Franklin has displayed the most potential.

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. Bayer vs. Justice Cunningham 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. We'll stick with Bayer for now, but that is subject to change.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

The Rams have serious questions about their depth on the offensive line. As reported last Thursday, Barrett Jones is battling a back injury and there's no timetable for his return. He could end up on injured reserve or possibly with the designation to return. Brandon Washington would seem to be a candidate, but he also has been out with an injury. Don't be surprised if the Rams closely monitor the waiver wire when cuts are made.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

The first eight are likely solid in their spots. But after some back and forth, I decided this was the week to elevate Westbrooks after another solid performance against Green Bay. Michael Sam also played well against the Packers, but Westbrooks has been more consistent in practice and offers more positional versatility. Sam remains in the race, but to my eye it looks like Westbrooks has moved ahead for now.

LINEBACKERS (6)

Don't be surprised if the final tally here looks different than the above. Beyond the first four listed, there could be plenty of room for change, including the potential for a veteran to provide depth. Bates is a strong special-teams player and should stick, but Steward will face plenty of competition from an eager group of undrafted rookies.

CORNERBACKS (5)

With plenty of preseason to go, there's a lot that can change, but this group seems to be getting some clarity. The first four here appear to be in good shape, and Gaines' strong preseason debut complements what has been a good camp for him. He seems to be in the driver's seat for the next spot. With each passing week, I believe the Rams might keep six corners and four safeties, but this projection doesn't reflect that because I'm not yet sure who that sixth corner would be. Marcus Roberson, Darren Woodard and Greg Reid all figure in that competition.

SAFETIES (5)

The Rams have kept five safeties under Fisher, in no small part because of special-teams duties. But I'm beginning to wonder if that could change in favor of a sixth cornerback. It's looked in camp like the Rams have more talent at corner than safety, which could cause them to alter the balance at the two positions in terms of numbers. The first three here should be safe and Davis bounced back well against Green Bay, which should help his cause. Daniels needs to get it going to get another shot. Christian Bryant is finally practicing but has been nondescript on the field.

SPECIALISTS (3)

It would take a serious injury to disturb this strong trio.

St. Louis Rams' projected roster

August, 11, 2014
8/11/14
8:00
AM ET
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)

QUARTERBACKS (3)
Bradford and Hill are locks. Gilbert got plenty of work in the preseason opener. It doesn't appear he'll have much competition from Austin Davis for a potential third spot. The only question is whether the Rams keep three.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

The Rams went heavy on running backs last year, keeping five and if they do both Reynolds and Isaiah Pead could make it. But we're going with a change-up this week and elevating Reynolds over Pead. Reynolds is a core special-teams guy, a role Pead could also play but Reynolds has managed to stay on the field and did some good things against the Saints.

RECEIVERS (5)

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 Bailey plus the five listed here seem to be in pretty good shape. Of the wideouts who could theoretically serve as placeholders until Bailey's return, Emory Blake has been the most consistent and Austin Franklin has displayed the most potential.

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 one. I resisted the temptation to elevate Bayer above Justice Cunningham last week but Bayer continues to perform in practice and had a strong preseason debut. This one could come down to the wire but for now, let's give the edge to Bayer.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

It's still hard to get a read on how the depth could shake out here and it's possible the Rams could go with 10 or 11 linemen as they did at times last year. The first seven or eight listed here should be in good shape, but beyond that, the competition is wide open. Players like Sean Hooey, Brandon Washington, Mitchell Van Dyk and Demetrius Rhaney could be heard from before preseason is finished.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

The first eight listed are all but locks barring injury, but the Rams have kept a ninth defensive lineman each of the past two seasons. Sam didn't hurt his cause with a solid preseason debut but Ethan Westbrooks is beginning to push him and Sam is still refining his special-teams work. I considered elevating Westbrooks this week but think another strong week is needed before making that move.

LINEBACKERS (6)

Don't be surprised if the final tally here looks different than the above. Beyond the first four listed, there could be plenty of room for change, including the potential for a veteran to provide depth. Bates is a strong special-teams player and should stick, but Steward will face plenty of competition from an eager group of undrafted rookies.

CORNERBACKS (5)

With plenty of preseason to go, there's a lot that can change but this group seems to be getting some clarity. The first four here appear to be in good shape and Gaines' strong preseason debut complements what has been a good camp for him. He seems to be in the driver's seat for the next spot. One player that shouldn't be forgotten here is Darren Woodard, who started against the Saints and had a nice pass breakup. Greg Reid and Marcus Roberson will be heard from before this is over and the Rams might end up keeping a sixth corner rather than a fifth safety.

SAFETIES (5)

The Rams have kept five safeties under Fisher, in no small part because of special-teams duties. But I'm beginning to wonder if that could change in favor of a sixth cornerback. It's looked in camp like the Rams have more talent at corner than safety, which could cause them to alter the balance at the two positions in terms of numbers. The first three here should be safe and Davis' special-teams contributions are valued, but he struggled on defense against New Orleans. Daniels needs to get it going to get another shot. Christian Bryant is finally practicing but has been nondescript on the field.

SPECIALISTS (3)

It would take a serious injury to disturb this strong trio.

St. Louis Rams' projected roster

August, 4, 2014
8/04/14
8:00
AM ET
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)

QUARTERBACKS (3)
Bradford and Hill are locks. Gilbert is already taking reps with the second team. It doesn't appear he'll have much competition from Austin Davis for a potential third spot. The only question is whether the Rams keep three.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

The Rams went heavy on running backs last year, keeping five, but with Pead handling more special teams duties, it could make Chase Reynolds expendable and allow them to keep an extra body elsewhere.

RECEIVERS (5)

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 Bailey plus the five listed here seem to be in pretty good shape. It will be more interesting to see how this group shakes out in terms of playing time.

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 one. Cunningham intrigues them, but undrafted rookie Alex Bayer continues to show promise. I'm not ready to elevate him past Cunningham but it's going to be close if they keep four.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

The Rams could easily go heavy here and keep another lineman or even two as they did in 2013. The first seven listed here should be in good shape, but beyond that, the competition is wide open. Players like Sean Hooey, Brandon Washington, Mitchell Van Dyk and Demetrius Rhaney could be heard from before preseason is finished.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

The first eight listed are all but locks barring injury, but the Rams have kept a ninth defensive lineman each of the past two seasons. The battle for that spot should be fierce with Sam trying to fend off the likes of Sammy Brown, Matt Conrath and undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks. Sam's ability to emerge on special teams will likely determine his fate.

LINEBACKERS (6)

Don't be surprised if the final tally here looks different than the above. Beyond the first four listed, there could be plenty of room for change, including the potential for a veteran to provide depth. Bates is a strong special teams player and should stick, but Steward will face plenty of competition from an eager group of undrafted rookies.

CORNERBACKS (5)

Jenkins, Johnson and Joyner should be set, but there could be some good battles in camp for the spots behind that trio. McGee has a year under his belt and an inherent advantage that goes with it, but he will face competition from the likes of Gaines, Greg Reid and Marcus Roberson. It also wouldn't surprise if the Rams kept a sixth cornerback instead of a fifth safety.

SAFETIES (5)

There is plenty to sort out at this position with Alexander, Daniels and rookie Christian Bryant coming off injury. Bryant didn't participate in the spring, so he is difficult to project at this point. Davis should stick for his special-teams contribution, but there is little guaranteed here.

SPECIALISTS (3)

It would take a serious injury to disturb this strong trio.

St. Louis Rams' projected roster

July, 28, 2014
7/28/14
8:00
AM ET
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)

QUARTERBACKS (3)
Bradford and Hill are locks. Gilbert is likely competing against the roster number more so than Austin Davis for a potential third quarterback spot. The guess here is the Rams will keep a third after keeping just two entering 2013.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

The Rams went heavy on running backs last year, keeping five, but with Pead handling more special teams duties, it could make Chase Reynolds expendable and allow them to keep an extra body elsewhere.

RECEIVERS (5)

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 Bailey plus the five listed here seem to be in pretty good shape. It will be more interesting to see how this group shakes out in terms of playing time.

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 one. Cunningham intrigues them, but undrafted rookie Alex Bayer showed some promise in the spring and could surprise.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

The Rams could easily go heavy here and keep another lineman or even two as they did in 2013. The first seven listed here should be in good shape, but beyond that, the competition is wide open. Players like Sean Hooey, Brandon Washington, Mitchell Van Dyk and Demetrius Rhaney could be heard from before preseason is finished.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

The first eight listed are all but locks barring injury, but the Rams have kept a ninth defensive lineman each of the past two seasons. The battle for that spot should be fierce with Sam trying to fend off the likes of Sammy Brown, Matt Conrath and undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks. Sam's ability to emerge on special teams will likely determine his fate.

LINEBACKERS (6)

Don't be surprised if the final tally here looks different than the above. Beyond the first four listed, there could be plenty of room for change, including the potential for a veteran to provide depth. Bates is a strong special teams player and should stick, but Steward will face plenty of competition from an eager group of undrafted rookies.

CORNERBACKS (5)

Jenkins, Johnson and Joyner should be set, but there could be some good battles in camp for the spots behind that trio. McGee has a year under his belt and an inherent advantage that goes with it, but he will face competition from the likes of Gaines, Greg Reid and Marcus Roberson. It also wouldn't surprise if the Rams kept a sixth cornerback instead of a fifth safety.

SAFETIES (5)

There is plenty to sort out at this position with Alexander, Daniels and rookie Christian Bryant coming off injury. Bryant didn't participate in the spring, so he is difficult to project at this point. Davis should stick for his special-teams contribution, but there is little guaranteed here.

SPECIALISTS (3)

It would take a serious injury to disturb this strong trio.

St. Louis Rams' projected roster

July, 18, 2014
7/18/14
11:00
AM ET
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)

QUARTERBACKS (3)
Bradford and Hill are locks. Gilbert is likely competing against the roster number more so than Austin Davis for a potential third quarterback spot. The guess here is the Rams will keep a third after keeping just two entering 2013.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

The Rams went heavy on running backs last year, keeping five, but with Pead handling more special teams duties, it could make Chase Reynolds expendable and allow them to keep an extra body elsewhere.

RECEIVERS (5)

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 Bailey plus the five listed here seem to be in pretty good shape. It will be more interesting to see how this group shakes out in terms of playing time.

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 one. Cunningham intrigues them, but undrafted rookie Alex Bayer showed some promise in the spring and could surprise.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

The Rams could easily go heavy here and keep another lineman or even two as they did in 2013. The first seven listed here should be in good shape, but beyond that, the competition is wide open. Players like Sean Hooey, Brandon Washington, Mitchell Van Dyk and Demetrius Rhaney could be heard from before preseason is finished.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

The first eight listed are all but locks barring injury, but the Rams have kept a ninth defensive lineman each of the past two seasons. The battle for that spot should be fierce with Sam trying to fend off the likes of Sammy Brown, Matt Conrath and undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks. Sam's ability to emerge on special teams will likely determine his fate.

LINEBACKERS (6)

Don't be surprised if the final tally here looks different than the above. Beyond the first four listed, there could be plenty of room for change, including the potential for a veteran to provide depth. Bates is a strong special teams player and should stick, but Steward will face plenty of competition from an eager group of undrafted rookies.

CORNERBACKS (5)

Jenkins, Johnson and Joyner should be set, but there could be some good battles in camp for the spots behind that trio. McGee has a year under his belt and an inherent advantage that goes with it, but he will face competition from the likes of Gaines, Greg Reid and Marcus Roberson. It also wouldn't surprise if the Rams kept a sixth cornerback instead of a fifth safety.

SAFETIES (5)

There is plenty to sort out at this position with Alexander, Daniels and rookie Christian Bryant coming off injury. Bryant didn't participate in the spring, so he is difficult to project at this point. Davis should stick for his special-teams contribution, but there is little guaranteed here.

SPECIALISTS (3)

It would take a serious injury to disturb this strong trio.

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