The NFL is known for a league that is more about starters in waiting than it is about permanent backups. We have seen plenty of players come out of seemingly nowhere, yet actually they continued to build up their stock to the point where they could not be ignored. When you look at this Rams roster there is so much talent that you have to stop and think some of the guys not starting could start on other teams or even the Rams down the line. Here are five players that could be future starters for the Rams down the road.
LT Joseph Noteboom
The third-round athletic tackle from Texas Christian had a solid performance in his debut last week but it’s already expected that he would end up on this list of players. Noteboom wasn’t drafted to be a backup. He was drafted to be groomed under one of the best tackles in football Andrew Whitworth and then once the veteran retires, take over for him and fill the blindside protector spot on the offensive line. Noteboom has the perfect build and athletic profile to succeed at this level. The issue with Noteboom was footwork and it appears he’s already improved that area of his game. It won’t come unless Whitworth suffers injury but Noteboom is a future starter and future bookend left tackle in the making.
RG Jamil Demby
The sixth-round guard and Senior Bowl practice standout out of Maine also had a solid performance in his debut but the most impressive thing for Jamil Demby in his debut was his versatility. The Rams struggled mightily at the tackle position and even at guard during this game. Demby was able to shift all over the line and do a nice of enough job to help out the Rams in the trenches. Demby is a future starter due to his ability but also who is ahead of him right now. The talented Rodger Saffold is great but he’s set to become a free agent after this year as well as the other guard on the line Jamon Brown and right tackle Rob Havenstein. Demby projects more as a guard and will have no problem finding a role down the line.
DE John Franklin-Myers
The fourth-round edge defender is primed to be the diamond in the rough in this draft class. The Rams drafted John Franklin-Myers over some very impressive but mostly well-known talent. Franklin-Myers was the guy that was considered fairly unheard of by many but Franklin-Myers has already made his presence felt in training camp and has exploded onto the scene. The Stephen F. Austin product is the starter at this moment with Aaron Donald not yet reporting to the team due to a contract dispute (that is expected to be dealt with this week). The Rams held out Franklin-Myers of the team’s first preseason game which says a ton about the young pass rusher and what the team thinks of him moving forward. Franklin-Myers is guaranteed to be a starter and a potential star someday, he has all of the power, athleticism and potential one would want as a defensive end.
NT Sebastian Joseph-Day
The sixth-round nose tackle out of Rutgers is a pure run-stuffing gap eater. Sebastian Joseph-Day appeared as someone who may not make the roster out of all the Rams picks but Joseph-Day was impressive in his debut against the Ravens and has impressed in camp as well. He may struggle as a pass rusher but last Thursday he appeared to have gotten better in that department. Joseph-Day has a set of strong hands and quick hands that allow him to really punish ball-carriers in the backfield. He split numerous double-teams and was a game-wrecker in that preseason game. With Ndamukong Suh with the Rams on a one-year deal, one would expect Joseph-Day to take over as his replacement down the road.
OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
Another draft pick that is a future starter for the Rams? Yes. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo was a raw pass rusher at Oklahoma and had his fair share of monster disruption. He also had his fair share of spin moves that took him out of the play ultimately leaving his assignment and failing to set the edge. Okoronkwo does not have an issue rushing the passer but he fell in the draft due to the combination of him being undersized and the lack of speed he showed in the 40-yard dash. He plays a lot faster on tape than his 40-time would suggest and has a plethora of pass rushing maneuvers he can utilize when rushing the passer. He needs to get better in run support but you have to expect Okoronkwo to start someday maybe as early as later on in this year.
ILB Tegray Scales
The one that this site has been extremely complimentary of Tegray Scales, the UDFA out of Indiana has put on an impressive display of range and athletic ability as well as his overall feel for the game. Scales played well in his first preseason game which included him making big-time tackles and terrorizing the backfield. Overall, the Rams grabbed a player that easily could have gone in round three or four as an undrafted free agent. A lot of this had to do with the injury he suffered and ran with at his Pro Day that led to his lower than expected 40-yard dash time. Scales is young, experienced starter from Indiana and has all the skills to become a starting inside backer in this league. He and Micah Kiser the fifth-round pick looked to have developed great chemistry in a short time playing together and it was displayed in their debut.
ILB Micah Kiser
The last draft pick on this list that absolutely looks like a steal already in the fifth-round is Micah Kiser of Virginia. Kiser was always praised for his hard-nosed tackling ability and he displayed just how efficient of a tackler he was in his debut. He is slightly limited being an old-school thumper of a linebacker but good enough to make the Rams benefit long-term. Kiser is highly intelligent and can be the QB of the defense if need-be. With the state of the linebackers, one can expect Kiser along with aforementioned Scales to take over the reigns together if the Rams move on from Mark Barron and let Cory Littleton walk when his contract expires.
FS Marqui Christian
Perhaps the most interesting way of arrival out of the bunch is Marqui Christian. Christian was drafted in the fifth-round by the Arizona Cardinals out of Midwestern State in 2016. Arizona tried to get cute, so they tried to cut and place Christian on the practice squad. If you asked any die-hard Cardinals fan, they felt this was a big mistake as Christian was someone who really flashed in camp and in preseason. Well, as they say, the rest was history. Cardinals ended up waiving Christian, the Rams claimed him off of waivers and here he is as a special teams stud and a future starter on defense. With elite safety LaMarcus Joyner on a franchise tag of a deal that likely won’t turn into a contract extension, Christian is next in line to take over the reigns at free safety. Christian started the first preseason game of the year and has been been raved about as of late by Head coach Sean McVay. Christian has been working in the Rams dime package which places him next to the starters in the secondary, Joyner and John Johnson III. It’s only a matter of time until Joyner leaves the team and Christian fills in as the next starting free safety.