The Los Angeles Rams have officially checked out of Orange County and the focus now shifts to the 2023 preseason.
But, the time period from the week of July 24 to August 8 witnessed some Rams who were on the hot seat really elevate their chances in making the final 53-man roster. Among them? A former top 60 draft pick, an undrafted 2022 option and a defender who had to miss six games last season due to a league mandated suspension.
Now that camp has wrapped up, here’s who Heavy on Rams believes boosted their roster chances thanks to their performances at UC Irvine’s Crawford Field.
Tutu Atwell, Wide Receiver<h2/.
In his three training camps at Irvine, the 2023 session was simply his best one yet.
Atwell caught contested passes between Decobie Durant and linebacker Ernest Jones on August 6. And, he used that 4.3 speed that got him to go No. 57 in 2021 to the Rams to attack the first team defense deep.
Even Matthew Stafford noticed growth in Atwell, calling him a wideout who is starting to “master the offense.” Atwell’s strong camp season could finally lead into the big plays the “Rams House” had hoped to see when he was selected as a surprise second round find.
Ronnie Rivers, Running Back
Rivers never began with the Rams as fans recall, as he was previously with two other NFC West teams in the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. Furthermore, he began to face longer roster odds with the Rams luring back Sony Michel before training camp and drafting Zach Evans.
But, Michel retired during camp…and Rivers took advantage by noticeably handling RB2 duties during the August 5-6 practices.
For the Saturday session, Rivers busted one juke move inside before accelerating for a long 20+ yard scamper. Then the following day, he became a check down option for quarterback Stetson Bennett out of the backfield. Rivers’ elusiveness and catching ability has him at the third RB spot for the Rams’ unofficial depth chart. But, if he continues his camp momentum into the three preseason games, he could catapult past Kyren Williams as the No. 2 RB option behind Cam Akers.
Logan Bruss, Right Tackle
Originally drafted to be a right guard, Bruss may have cemented a future at right tackle behind Rob Havenstein.
The second-year interior lineman out of Wisconsin was strong with his pass protection in giving Bennett time to throw. He then used that Wisconsin mean streak to clear lanes for Williams, Rivers and the other Ram backs.
The move to RT may be beneficial anyway as Bruss is returning from a torn ACL, plus the Rams welcoming back a healthier Tremayne Anchrum and projecting 2023 second rounder guard Steve Avila as a starter. Head coach Sean McVay, though, reminded the L.A. media that Bruss came with line flexibility when they drafted him.
“He had played 17% of his snaps at guard at Wisconsin, but 83% of them at tackle and he looks more comfortable out there,” McVay said following August 5 practice. “I think that’s probably where he’ll stay for now. He can always potentially bump inside, but you could see. I think it was important for him by necessity, but also coming off the injury.”
Bobby Brown III, Nose Tackle
Brown entered the league at approximately 330-pounds out of Texas A&M.
He’s since slimmed to nearly 320-pounds. And in the process, has looked more slippery in the trenches. He also looks like a defender trusting his hands more than his strength as he noticeably used an arm over move to get past blockers in passing situations.
Helps that he’s entering season three with defensive line coach Eric Henderson and being in a room with Aaron Donald. But following losing six games last season due to a reported performance enhancing drug violation, Brown looks primed for a long awaited expanded role on the defense, especially with A’Shawn Robinson gone.
Donald himself told reporters on August 5 that Brown has looked good in practices.
Christian Rozeboom, Inside Linebacker
While known more as a special teamer, Rozeboom has clearly taken advantage of an opportunity bequeathed by Bobby Wagner.
He’s been listed as a starter in the projected depth chart.
Rozeboom has gotten there by becoming a gap filler against the run and stepping in to halt the rush attempts. But as the 2021 preseason suggested, Rozeboom brings needed range and sideline-to-sideline pursuits for the other ILB spot. The fact the Rams resigned him in April 2023 shows the franchise’s trust in his presence.