The Los Angeles Rams will have a plethora of undrafted players that will enter training camp trying to make the roster. One of those players is safety Jake Gervase out of Iowa. Gervase will compete at a deep position on the roster, and he’ll have an uphill climb, but this isn’t a road he hasn’t traveled down before. He’s next in our roster preview series.
Gervase entered Iowa as a walk-on and was red-shirted. He made an early impact on special teams, then as a backup, and finally was named a team captain on defense an honorable mention All-Big-10 as a senior.
He made his first career appearance in a 31-14 win over Illinois State and never looked back. Gervase made six appearances as a redshirt freshman – enough to build on going forward. In his seconds season, he won the Team Hustle Award on special teams and saw action in all 13 of the Hawkeyes’ games.
Starter Brandon Snyder tore his ACL in April 2017, opening the door, and Gervase busted through. As a redshirt junior, he finally made his first career start on defense. In a 24-3 win over Wyoming, the defense allowed just 233 yards of total offense. In that game, Gervase recorded four tackles, including one for loss on fourth down. His best game came against Minnesota in which he tallied a career-best eight tackles and recorded his first career interception in the end zone to stop a scoring threat. He ended up with 58 tackles as he made ten starts.
In his final season, Gervase led the team in tackles with 89 and tied for second in the Big Ten and 16th nationally with four interceptions. The Iowa safety improved every season and did save his best for last. He allowed the lowest passer rating among Big 10 safeties last season. In the Outback Bowl against Mississippi State, the Iowa safety had a career-best four pass break-ups, including a break-up on the Bulldogs final offensive play in the final minutes. His interception in the end zone and 28-yard return in the fourth quarter stopped a Mississippi State scoring threat and led to Iowa’s last field goal to give the Hawkeyes a 27-22 lead.
Gervase hoped for a late-round selection in the draft but went undrafted. He went through a tryout with the Raiders before ultimately getting a chance to do the same with the Los Angeles Rams, who liked what they saw and signed Gervase to a free-agent agreement.
Gervase is going to be a long-shot to make the roster, but he’ll directly compete with the Los Angeles Rams’ seventh-round selection, Nick Scott. Both players will be looking to play a role on special teams and potentially come in as a reserve safety. Just because Scott got taken in the seventh-round, doesn’t make him a guarantee to make the roster. Gervase will have plenty of say in that.
Three Plays on Tape
— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) October 28, 2017
This is Gervase’s first career interception. This is all about him staying in the play and always playing with his head up. The Hawkeyes win this game 17-10, and Gervase took away a possible score here.
Jake Gervase picks off Peyton Ramsey in the end zone and that's a wrap. pic.twitter.com/L0mXLRxc26
— On Iowa (@GazetteOnIowa) October 13, 2018
Gervase isn’t the most athletic player, and a lot of his interceptions are reactionary, but there is something to be said about being in the right place at the right time. This is a terrible decision by the quarterback, but credit goes to Gervase who comes away with the interception.
Santa had one more gift for Jake Gervase 🎁 pic.twitter.com/1fmTnGrB0l
— On Iowa (@GazetteOnIowa) January 1, 2019
This was the play of the game during the Outback Bowl. With Mississippi State driving and looking to take the lead, Gervase comes up with a big-time interception. This should be a touchdown, but Gervase stays in the play and comes away with an interception.
Can Gervase make enough of an impact in training camp to earn a roster spot?
This is the case and the question for every undrafted player. Gervase is seen as an automatic player who gets cut, but this is also a player who walked on and made the team before. He improved in every season at Iowa, working his way up the totem pole from walk-on to a team captain.
There’s something to be said about staying in the play and being in the right place at the right time. That’s Jake Gervase. While he’s not the most athletic player, he works hard and can overcome it.
2019 Outlook and Role
The practice squad doesn’t seem likely for Gervase. It’s going to be roster or bust. If he makes the roster and makes an impact, it will be on special teams where he beats out Nick Scott.
Chances of Making Final Roster
It’s going to be an uphill battle, but not impossible. While Gervase went undrafted, there’s also a reason Nick Scott got taken in the seventh round. If Gervase can prove in camp and in the preseason that he’s worth keeping around more than Scott, he will make the final-53.