Who Stays in the ‘Rams House?’ Final 53-Man Projections for L.A.


Getty Christian Rozeboom celebrates with the Los Angeles Rams following his interception against Denver on Saturday, August 28.

By Tuesday, August 31, the Los Angeles Rams will be without 27 players heading toward the season opener.

Why? The above date represents the final roster cutoff – plus will determine who will comprise the 2021 version of the Rams.

For those who follow preseason, let alone the players who used preseason as their vehicle to drive toward a final roster spot, this is a gut-wrenching time especially for the Rams. Especially for the ones who likely won over numerous of Ram fans for their August play.

But now it’s time to gain an idea of who will remain in the “Rams House” moving forward.

Offense Could See the Most Waives

From what it appears, the most waives will occur on the offensive side of the football. Here’s our picks:

Quarterbacks (3): Here’s my inclination, the Rams should keep three quarterbacks. Matthew Stafford had his thumb scare, John Wolford had to get his appendix removed. Bryce Perkins showed enough poise against the Denver one’s on Saturday to close out the preseason. Three options gives a QB guru like Sean McVay assurance that this spot has quality depth.

Running Backs (4): Sony Michel officially becomes RB2 while Darrell Henderson remains RB1. Jake Funk dressed but didn’t see any action versus the Broncos, but that’s an indicator McVay is keeping you for the season opener. Meanwhile, Xavier Jones also remains to give L.A. its quartet to choose from. The odd man out? Undrafted rookie Otis Anderson Jr.

Wide Receivers (6): This one is tricky. We know who the ones through fives are. But the sixth spot is a toss up. ESPN Rams reporter Lindsey Thiry projects Trishton Jackson to fill the sixth spot. The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue predicts the Rams will keep seventh rounder Ben Skowronek. My gut feeling? Jackson gets rewarded a final spot off of training camp consistency and flashing key moments in August.

Tight Ends (4): One to two is Tyler Higbee and Johnny Mundt. Rookie Jacob Harris will move around. Meanwhile, the Rams also have to think about special teams bodies and who can be a valuable extra blocker. That’s where Brycen Hopkins come in.

Offensive Line (8): OK, here’s my first surprise. Undrafted rookie Alaric Jackson stays. Why? The ex-Iowa Hawkeye not only showed consistency in pass protection these three games, plus was also only penalized once in 205 total snaps throughout the preseason according to Pro Football Focus, but the Rams need tackle depth and Jackson provides it. Plus, Jackson’s production rose each week per PFF. Meanwhile inside, the Rams could likely get away with waiving Coleman Shelton but assigning him as a practice squad member, given the team could slide Austin Corbett in the middle if center Brian Allen goes down and have Bobby Evans as a guard option.

Notable projected cuts: Skowronek didn’t play in any August games and there’s no telling how healthy he’ll be. He could be a practice squad option to start. J.J. Koski went from eight catches versus the Las Vegas Raiders to one against Denver. He’s likely a waive. Kendall Blanton had a solid August but the Rams can’t afford to keep five TE’s, especially in a wide receiver-friendly offense.

Total offensive players: 25

Toughest Spot to Finalize on Defense is the Secondary

The most consistent preseason performers in the secondary were 2020 undrafted safeties J.R. Reed and JuJu Hughes. And after the Broncos’ game, Hughes rated higher than Reed per PFF. But does he stay? Or does Reed? Or both?

Safeties (6): I’m predicting the Rams keep six safeties with the sure tacklers Reed and Hughes not only adding depth, but giving the Rams kickoff and punt team options by virtue of their hard-hitting ability. This now means Nick Scott can go from special teamer to alternate safety. One other note about Hughes? In 69 total coverage plays, he only allowed three receptions for 33 yards – and that was only in one game versus the Raiders.

Cornerbacks (4): We already know who CB1 and CB2 is. David Long Jr. and rookie Robert Rochell not only add depth but will likely rotate at Troy Hill’s old spot.

Outside Linebackers (5): While the Rams may like Ogbonnia Okonrowko, his latest injury, plus the emergence of seventh rounder Chris Garrett, puts the Rams in a tough spot. My belief is Garrett will take over since he’s at full strength. Terrell Lewis, meanwhile, is making his trek back from injury. Justin Lawler helps fill depth here too.

Inside Linebackers (4): Don’t be surprised if you see rookie Ernest Jones get snaps on September 12 following an impressive August. A healthier Travin Howard adds to this unit.

Defensive Line (6): The dilemma is who stays between Greg Gaines and Michael Hoecht. The latter had a spectacular game against Denver, but if the Rams go the veteran route, the third-year pro Gaines stays.

Specialists (3): As popular Johnny Hekker was, all signs are indicating his lengthy tenure with the Rams have reached the sunset, especially after Corey Bojorquez delivered an impressive boot at Denver, literally. Matthew Orzech stays on as the long snapper and Matt Gay mans placekicker.

Notable projected cuts: Unless L.A. opts to keep five CB’s, Dont’e Deayon and Brontae Harris are likely on the move. Christian Rozeboom showed flashes, but is also likely not to be kept.

Total defenders/specialists: 28

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