As the preseason comes to a close, “Cut Day” looms large on players’ calendars. For most of those on the 53-man Rams final roster, this day serves to mark the beginning of the real work — the regular season. For some of the 53, this day marks the biggest achievement in their lives thus far as they realize their childhood dreams. For 10 of the remaining players, this day serves as a consolation prize. Meanwhile, for the remaining players, this day could mean the end of a career. Here is a full roster prediction for the final Rams roster for 2019.
53-Man Rams Final Roster Prediction
This is arguably the easiest position for the Rams to hammer down this season. Specifically, the expectation is that the Rams will have Jared Goff and Blake Bortles as their only two quarterbacks. With the roster as full of talent as it is, having a third quarterback would simply be an ineffective use of resources considering that if the Rams did ever need to go to a third quarterback, the season would be essentially over in that instant anyway.
QB1: Jared Goff
QB2: Blake Bortles
Even before the first practice, the Rams knew they were going to have Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Josh Reynolds on the team. Besides them, the rest of the spots would be up for grabs. Behind the locks should be JoJo Natson, KhaDarel Hodge, and newcomer Nsimba Webster. Webster and Natson double as returners. Natson seems to be the lead returner while Webster could serve as a backup plan should anything happen to Natson. He also serves as a wildcard with great upside should his name get called as a receiver. In total, the Rams are poised to keep seven receivers.
7WR: Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds, JoJo Natson, KhaDarel Hodge, Nsimba Webster.
The running backs should be as follows:
With the new addition of Henderson, it seems that Justin Davis no longer fits in with this dense running back group. As with many teams, the Rams are expected to stick to four running backs.
It is quite likely that the Rams will only keep three tight ends:
While the decision to keep only three tight ends seems light, the talent pool isn’t deep enough to warrant an extra roster spot. If one of these three players were to suffer an injury, the Rams would be able to pick up a guy off the street with similar abilities to those who were let go at the end of the preseason.
Interestingly, the Rams are seemingly poised to keep more offensive linemen than receivers this year due to the injury to Aaron Neary. Going into the regular season, the line is likely to consist of:
If one were to do the math, then they would notice that the team isn’t expected to have a backup for each of the line positions. This is due to the reasoning that the Rams will likely plug-and-play backups wherever the injury occurs on the line. Of course, if the Rams were to suffer more than three injuries on the line, they would need to lean on the practice squad or free agency. However, the odds of that happening are in favor of the Rams.
Unless carefully accounted for in advance, the defensive line can easily throw a wrench into any roster. This year, the Rams are in a position to keep seven players.
Similar to the plan with the offensive line, backups should be able to bounce around between defensive end and defensive tackle positions as needed. Parenthetically, when building the final roster, Tanzel Smart fit into place as the last player added to the team.
Outside linebacker seems to be one of the easier positions to fill this season for the Rams.
Matthews, Fowler, and Ebukam are established veterans with Okoronkwo coming in as a wild card. Ideally, Ebukam would serve as the backup to both Fowler and Matthews and Okoronkwo would act as Ebukam’s backup.
Hager essentially won the starting job by default due to the injury to Micah Kiser, leading many Rams fans to watch Hager with intensity. Had Kiser survived the preseason intact, either Howard or Allen likely would not have made the final team. Considering the way this group is built, it seems that both Hager and Littleton have a dedicated backup should one miss time.
As the “yin” to the wide receiver’s “yang,” the Rams are also in a position to keep seven cornerbacks. The top four positions were pretty much set in stone coming into 2019:
Long is a shiny new third-round pick, Peterson picked two balls in three games during the preseason, and Williams appears to have the strongest preseason stat line out of the remaining competition.
As a brand-new second-round pick, Rapp is poised to be a great depth piece that will likely eventually take over for Eric Weddle. As such, Rapp will be the backup for both Johnson and Weddle in an effort to get him as much as experience as possible before the changing of the guard actually occurs.
Kicker: Greg Zuerlein
Punter: Johnny Hekker
Long Snapper: Jake McQuaide