The Rams kept just two at the position last season, and Garrett Gilbert has not shown that he is NFL ready at this time. Austin Davis should not unpack his bags just yet because if a more experienced player at the position becomes available, the Rams could make a move here.
Running Backs (5)
Chase Reynolds is a proven special teams player and makes the team for this reason alone. He knows and accepts his role on the team and will be rewarded for it. Trey Watts has seized the opportunity given to him when Isaiah Pead tore his ACL. If Watts can repeat last week’s performance against the Miami Dolphins this week, he’s in.
Wide Receivers (5)
Austin Pettis is merely keeping this roster spot warm for Stedman Bailey to finish serving his 4-game suspension before the disgruntled receiver is either buried on the bench or released.
Tight Ends (4)
Justice Cunningham could knock Alex Bayer to the practice squad with a strong game on Thursday. Cunningham is a better in-line blocker and special teams player than Bayer, but has struggled this summer in every preseason game. In talking about battles for a roster spot, the one between these two players could be the closest of them all.
Offensive Line (9)
The precarious standing of Barrett Jones on the Rams roster is one that will come down to his health once again. Jones, who worked hard in the offseason in the weight room to prepare his body for an NFL season, suffered a setback and had surgery on his back just after Rams camp opened. If the team feels his health will allow him to return sooner rather than later, versatile journeyman Mike Person could be on the outside looking in.
Defensive Line (9)
The unquestioned strength of the Rams is the depth of their defensive line. The first eight names on this list have been all but set in stone since before Rams camp started. Michael Sam leads the team in sacks this preseason but the versatility of Ethan Westbrooks secures a spot on the team, sending Sam to the practice squad.
Ray Ray Armstrong
It is difficult to imagine a change to this group happening at this point of the summer, but if one were to happen, Phillip Steward will be the man delivered the surprising news. With that said, look for Steward to join the Bash Brothers on special teams on Sunday afternoon.
After a slow start, Greg Reid has come on strong the last two weeks with his aggressive play and a nose for finding the football, both traits Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams covets. When you mix in Reid’s ability to contribute as a returner on special teams, he becomes a very attractive option.
The surprise here is breaking camp with just three players listed as the safety position, but Lamarcus Joyner can play the position if needed, allowing the team to move on from Craig Dahl clone Cody Davis and carry Reid as the seventh cornerback.
Special Teams (3)
Nothing to see here, move along.
Projected 10-Man Practice Squad
1. Michael Sam – Defensive end
2. Garrett Gilbert – Quarterback
3. Travis Bond – Offensive lineman
4. Darren Woodard – Cornerback
5. Emory Blake – Wide receiver
6. Austin Franklin – Wide receiver
7. Mitchell Van Dyk – Offensive lineman
8. Christian Bryant – Safety
The NFL expanded the practice squad by two players this year, paving the way for a team to become very creative with the last few spots on their 53-man rosters. The big name here is obviously Michael Sam. He has shown ability to rush the passer, but only from the left defensive end position. Time on the practice squad would allow him the chance to continue working with Mike Waufle on a counter move to his two-handed slap, speed rush and would be the next man up if an injury along the defensive line were to take place.
The last two spots could easily be filled by players who are released around the league who have caught the eyes of Jeff Fisher and Les Snead on tape and would be worth a closer look at Earth City.