Fourteen of the 21 players waived by the Los Angeles Rams this week have managed to clear waivers and will now return to the team by filling the practice squad.
Among them? A defensive lineman drafted in the fifth round by the Rams in the 2021 NFL Draft Earnest Brown IV and a brief starter at inside linebacker from the 2020 season Micah Kiser.
The Rams team website unveiled on Wednesday, September 1, the players who were assigned to the practice squad. The 2021 unit looks like this:
- Two wide receivers
- One running back
- One tight end
- Two offensive tackles
- One guard
- Two linemen including the draft pick
- Two linebackers including the ex-starter
- Three defensive backs
Kiser Decision Tough on McVay, Rams
Ultimately, the Rams decided to roll with four active inside linebackers…which made the 26-year-old Kiser the odd man out.
And McVay and the Rams are well aware of the kind of player the 6-foot, 244-pound Kiser was when called upon. He was called to start in nine of the 16 regular season contests last year with L.A., finishing with 77 total tackles including 44 solo stops.
“What a stud of a human being. An incredible person,” McVay said near the 4:00 mark of the post practice video from Tuesday. “You know, you talk about a guy who has consistently overcome adversity and responded the right way.”
McVay, again, explained that the situation became keeping four inside linebackers and also figuring out who could play on special teams.
“Really, what it came down to is we kept four (ILB’s) and made it a really tough decision for us,” McVay said. “Part of it is defense and there’s a special teams element that definitely contributes to those decisions. But Micah was one of those more difficult decisions that we had to make organizationally and he continued to epitomized all the things that make him a stud human being because of the way he handled that. Whether with us or someone else, you’re going to bet on him to be successful.”
Decision on Brown Proves This For Draft Picks
Unfortunately for anyone who gets drafted, especially in lower rounds, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll make the final roster once the deadline period arrives.
Such was the case for the former Northwestern Wildcat.
The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Brown was originally drafted because of showing an “instinctive” side as noted by Rams senior personnel executive Brian Xanders.
“He’s what we’re looking for in terms of a big bodied, long good athlete,” added Midwest area scout Brian Hill back on May 19.
However, Brown had to wait until the truncated 2020 season to finally start for the Wildcats. Hill even pointed out “he’s still learning the game” but felt he could be like Chicago Bears defender Roy Robertson-Harris, who is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars but entering his fifth NFL season after going undrafted. That was enough for the Rams to make Brown a day three pick.
Per Pro Football Focus, Brown saw the field on 87 total defensive snaps in the month of August. Notable highlights? Two tackles and two quarterback hurries against the Denver Broncos on Saturday, August 28.
Now, the Rams opted to go with seven defensive linemen in their final 53. Bobby Brown III is the lone 2021 draft pick representing the trenches.
The Rest of the Signings
Outside of Kiser and Brown, here’s who else made the practice squad:
Landen Akers: Undrafted 2021 wide receiver from Iowa State who only saw one snap against the Broncos. Was in on 65 plays against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Otis Anderson: Undrafted rookie from Central Florida who saw more action late against the Raiders and shared handoff duties versus Broncos.
Kendall Blanton: Tight end who scored one touchdown against the Raiders. Caught three passes for 30 yards at Denver.
Chandler Brewer: Third-year left guard from Middle Tennessee State. Played in 178 snaps this preseason.
Marquise Copeland: Third-year defensive tackle from Cincinnati who went undrafted in 2019 before signed by the Rams. Has had multiple stints with practice squad.
Dont’e Deayon: Sixth-year cornerback from Boise State who has been with the Rams since 2018.
Jeremiah Kolone: Guard who first joined the Rams in 2018 as a UDFA from San Jose State. Signed with team on August 4.
J.J. Koski: Second-year WR from Cal Poly. Caught 12 passes for 102 yards and averaged 8.5 yards a catch from the slot.
Kareem Orr: CB from Tennessee-Chattanooga who first signed with Rams on May 26.
Tyler Hall: CB from Wyoming who grew up in nearby Hawthorne, California.
Justin Lawler: LB from SMU who delivered an emotionally charged performance against the Chargers on August 14.
Max Pircher: Tackle from Italy. Part of International Pathway Program (IPP).