Los Angeles Rams training camp is literally right around the corner. That means it’s time to discuss some players that are flying under the radar. In this piece, we will uncover three players that are flying under the radar and could make the final roster when it’s all said and done.
Here’s a surprising one for many. It’s none other than Ricky Proehl‘s son Austin Proehl. Proehl signed onto the Rams practice squad during the middle of last year and ended up taking a team Super Bowl game photo. While surreal, Proehl has switched his number over to 87, the same number his father wore with the Rams back in the day. While this all seems like an overly feel-good story, it’s worth mentioning that Austin Proehl is actually a very talented receiver.
The former North Carolina Tar Heel and Buffalo Bills receiver is one of the sneakiest receivers on this roster. While all the attention at the back end of the depth chart is on the likes of KhaDarel Hodge and JoJo Natson because they, of course, were on last year’s roster. Proehl might be the craftiest route runner out of all of the bottom of the depth chart receivers. One thing that is especially important is Proehl’s ability to catch with his hands and clearly frame the ball. An overall reliable receiver with the ability to extend plays.
The thing that is interesting here is that the Rams have four definite locks for the roster at the position: Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds. After that, it’s pretty much fair game. While Proehl has a ton of competition in players like the aforementioned Hodge and Natson it’s important to be aware of UDFAs Nsimba Webster, Alex Bachman, Johnathan Lloyd and Jalen Greene. Everyone brings something to the roster, otherwise, they wouldn’t be here.
With Proehl, the overall receiving ability isn’t in question but when you are likely going to be the fifth receiver or even the sixth on the depth chart, you simply have to display more in your game. Proehl has a limited resume in the return game and special teams department. However, if you want potentially the next Cole Beasley, this is probably your guy. His understanding of the game and his attention to detail will make him a priority free agent if the Rams do unfortunately part ways with him.
The Los Angeles Rams were able to scoop up Proehl last year and place him on their practice squad. They should consider that a one-year thing because Proehl is good enough to have a legitimate role in an offense this year. Is he a need for the Rams? No, he’s not. However, are you going to keep the best 53 football players on your roster? If so, Proehl has a legitimate argument to make the cut.
DL “Boogie” Owen Roberts
Roberts is an undrafted rookie free agent out of San Jose State. We had the pleasure in speaking with him on our flagship podcast. However, while Roberts is a great person off-the-field, he’s just as good of a player on it. For whatever reason, Roberts is being slept on by many but not by Downtown Rams or Pro Football Focus. Austin Gayle of PFF wrote a piece which ranked the top-five draft-eligible interior defensive linemen by pressure percentage in 2018.
In this piece, both Los Angeles Rams defensive linemen Boogie Roberts and Greg Gaines made the cut. Roberts however, was the only one on the list not from a power five conference. He was also the only one on the list that was not drafted. This list included the likes of first-round picks Quinnen Williams, Christian Wilkins and Jerry Tillery. Roberts ended up being ranked third on this list. What Pro Football Focus also points out is Roberts’ seventh-overall ranking in pass-rush win percentage (14.9%) and sixth-overall in total pressures (42) for defensive linemen.
What the issue ultimately will be for Roberts is the lack of spots available on the roster. It all really will depend on what the Rams want to allocate to the position. If the Rams decide to keep seven defensive linemen, Roberts could have more of an argument over the other two UDFAs Marquise Copeland and Bryant Jones.
Even if the Rams keep six, the addition of fourth-round selection Greg Gaines would allow them to move on from Sebastian Joseph-Day. Joseph-Day is strictly a nose tackle, he does not possess the versatility or the agility of Roberts which could help Roberts in his quest for the 53. In addition to that, Roberts has already shown the ability to play nose tackle and produce results. It might seem surprising to be this high on a UDFA but Roberts could very well be a diamond in the rough.
Peterson is a former undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State. The Los Angeles Rams have held onto Peterson since the tail end of the 2016 season. After signing a future’s contract, Peterson found his way onto the Rams practice squad the following year. Not long after that, Peterson ended up playing in regular-season NFL games. He even recorded his first interception int the final game of the season. However, in 2018, Peterson suffered a torn ACL in the opening preseason game. The talented cornerback would spend all of 2018 on injured reserve because of this. The Rams ended up bringing Peterson back for one more crack at a roster placement.
It’s fair to say that Peterson has been forgotten and or counted out to make the roster. With the recent addition of third-round draft pick David Long, it’s easy to write off Peterson’s chances. Then, you factor in the extension of Troy Hill and Peterson’s chances appear very bleak. Here are the facts though, Peterson has more NFL experience than Long and outplayed Hill in the preseason over the last couple of years. Could Peterson end up knocking Hill off of the roster even after the extension? That’s a question that will be answered at the end of the preseason.
Peterson has an impressive overall game. He’s a feisty cornerback with athleticism. Overall, Peterson is a savvy cornerback that can play on the outside or as a nickel cornerback. His overall quickness makes for a corner that can absolutely play in this league. Will Peterson get that shot? This is someone that has made the big play even in limited opportunities to do so. It’s worth mentioning, Peterson would still have another year of eligibility for a practice squad spot. That could be where he ends up. However, this is a player that is just as talented as Long and Hill.
It’s all going to be up to the coaching staff but Peterson definitely is going to be one of the final cuts or roster keeps once the roster is finalized.