Rams Training Camp: Top Position Battles on Offense

by Blaine Grisak
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The Los Angeles Rams are nearing the start of training camp. On Jul 27, the Rams will begin camp and there will be plenty to keep an eye on. Aside from seeing Matthew Stafford in a Los Angeles Rams uniform, there will also be the usual training camp battles.

This year is no different with several camp battles to keep an eye on. We’ll start with the offense.

Quarterback

No, the Rams will not be having an open quarterback competition – at least at QB1. However, what happens at QB2 and QB3 will certainly be worth watching. For now, this is John Wolford‘s job to lose. He started games last season and showed that when his number is called, he can come in for a game or two and win.

Meanwhile, while Wolford was winning games last year and getting starting reps, the Rams had another quarterback developing. Bryce Perkins signed as an undrafted free agent last year and brings an aspect to the quarterback position that the Rams don’t have. That ability is his athleticism and being able to make plays with his legs.

Wolford showed that he can be mobile, but it’s not to the extent of Perkins. The Rams really like Perkins and it would not be surprising to see him in a Taysom Hill-like role. However, in order to get a grasp on the backup quarterback position, he’ll need to show improvement in his processing and accuracy.

As mentioned, John Wolford is still the backup quarterback and Sean McVay values what he brings. However, Perkins could push Wolford for his backup spot with a good training camp and preseason.

Wide Receiver

Outside of the top-two wide receivers in Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, wide receivers three through six are wide open and up for grabs.

The first open spots will be wide receiver three through five. In all likelihood, that competition will be between DeSean Jackson, Van Jefferson, and TuTu Atwell. It would not be surprising to see these three players at WR3a, WR3b, and WR3c once the season comes around.

All are able to bring something unique to the table and might play on a more situational basis. However, of those players, one is likely going to get the majority of the snaps in 11 personnel situations.

Is it DeSean Jackson who is the veteran of the group and brings the vertical dynamic that the Rams lacked last season? Jackson also spent time with Sean McVay in Washington. The Rams like their veterans which could give Jackson an edge. Jackson might be the slight favorite.

Is that Van Jefferson who will be going into his second year and has a year in the system? It seems like now or never for Jefferson with the Rams. Another year like his rookie season and he might be on his way out of Los Angeles.

Lastly, the Rams have TuTu Atwell. The Rams drafted Atwell with the 57th overall in the draft. In the past, the Rams have given their rookies one year to find their place and integrate into the team culture. Atwell could see opportunities, but he might not be featured in year one.

The last wide receiver spots will come behind those three players. Will the Rams keep six or seven wide receivers? Ben Skowronek could have a roster spot locked up as the team just drafted him in the seventh round. The Rams also signed Jeremiah Haydel and Landen Akers as undrafted free agents.

This will be one of the tightest competitions throughout training camp.

Tight End

Again, in all likelihood the top tight end position is locked up with Tyler Higbee leading the way. However, behind him is where there will a close battle during training camp.

Johnny Mundt could finally get his opportunity as the team’s full-time second tight end. Mundt is seen as more of a blocker, but has the ability to make plays as a receiver. He’s also the veteran of the group as he’s in year five with the team.

The top two tight end positions on the depth chart seem to be locked up. However, the third tight end spot is where things really get interesting. It will be the battle of fourth round picks.

Last season in the fourth round, the Rams drafted Brycen Hopkins. Hopkins played just three snaps as a rookie. Just this year, the Rams selected Jacob Harris in the fourth round and he’s been making noise in OTAs.

Hopkins has been relatively quiet and forgotten about. If he doesn’t make an impact this year, it might never happen with the Rams. The team seems to be very excited about Harris and he might have the leg up in this competition. It’s very possible that Harris could push for some TE2 reps.

Harris will be making the transition to the NFL at the tight end position which is never easy. He also is changing positions from wide receiver to tight end. Those two facts can’t go left unsaid. An impact may come more down the road than right away.

It’s also worth noting Kendall Blanton in this conversation. Blanton may not push for the third tight end spot, but if Hopkins disappoints, Blanton could push him for a roster spot. He’s spent the last two years developing and learning. It will be an uphill battle, but don’t count him out.

Guard

The Rams will likely go into training camp with a starting five and do their best to stick with that starting five on the offensive line. With two changes up front, this is a team that will be looking to build some consistency.

However, there is a spot that could be up for grabs and that’s at guard. As it stands, David Edwards and Bobby Evans will be the starters. However, Edwards came into camp out of shape two years ago and Evans has little experience at guard.

If one of them disappoints, don’t rule on Joseph Noteboom as someone that the Rams could decide to start at guard. The Rams will try to keep him at tackle as that’s where he’s had the most success, but guard is certainly an option.

Behind that top three is also where things get interesting. Tremayne Anchrum is someone that the Rams really like as well as Chandler Brewer. Alaric Jackson signed with the team as an undrafted free agent and is also someone that the Rams like. Is one of those players showing potential enough to push Jamil Demby off the roster?

The Rams have a deep group at offensive line which will make the final roster spots difficult to come by and fun for fans to watch.

 

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