Surprises From Rams First Official Depth Chart

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Aug 19, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback TJ Carrie (38) prepares to tackle Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (18) second quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams released their first unofficial depth chart of the season on Tuesday. There were a few big surprises, especially along the Rams defensive line given the uncertainty of the Aaron Donald situation.  Additionally, rookie standout Cooper Kupp was listed as a backup at wide receiver. This was surprising given the high volume of targets that Kupp received in the preseason and the chemistry he displayed with quarterback Jared Goff.


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Tanzel Smart Listed As Starter At Defensive Tackle

Rams rookie Tanzel Smart is currently listed as the starter for the Rams at defensive tackle. This is a somewhat surprising move, as Smart did not get many starting reps throughout the preseason. Louis Trinca-Pasat, who received a lot of those reps, was cut by the team this weekend. Elsewhere on the defensive line, Michael Brockers is the starter at nose tackle. Additionally, Ethan Westbrooks will likely get the start at defensive end on Sunday. If and when Aaron Donald returns, he will take over the defensive end job and Westbrooks will likely return to tackle. However, Smart has an opportunity to establish himself as the starter, defensive coordinator will not bench a scorching hot Smart in favor of Westbrooks. The rookie out of Tulane looks to be getting a big opportunity, he hopes to capitalize.

Cooper Kupp Listed As Backup Wide Receiver

Kupp was fantastic in the preseason. He was a key target for quarterback Jared Goff, receiving a high volume of those targets in the red zone and on third down. However, he is currently listed as a backup on the depth chart. This puts Kupp as likely the Rams fourth receiver. This is likely an ode to Tavon Austin, who has not played at all in the offseason due to injury. Rams fans can rest assured that Kupp will get his reps, any players that performs to his level always will. This is especially true given the uncertainty surrounding Austin, who is coming off a hamstring injury that plagued him for many weeks.

Outlook

The Rams depth chart surprises are focused around two rookies for two different reasons. Cooper Kupp is surprisingly low, while Tanzel Smart is surprisingly high. Regardless, both players are on pace to receiver a high volume of reps on Sunday. Smart looks to capitalize on his opportunity, while Kupp looks to prove that his preseason performance was not a fluke.

– Andrew Kelly is the Managing Editor for cover32/Rams and covers the Los Angeles Rams. Like and follow on

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