The Los Angeles Rams will begin training camp on July 27. Every year in training camp there are a handful of surprise players who end up making the roster. Whether that player is an undrafted free agent or someone that fans expected to be cut, those players make the final active roster year-in and year-out.
For the sake of this list we’ll stick to undrafted free agents and players who were on the practice squad last season. Heading into camp, those are the players that will be fighting hardest for roster spots and the players least likely to end up with a final roster spot.
LB Christian Rozeboom
The Rams signed Christian Rozeboom last season as an undrafted free agent. While he didn’t make the final roster, he is someone that spent all of last year on the practice squad. What is most beneficial for Rozeboom is that there seems to be opportunity at linebacker.
As it stands, the Rams have a set group of Micah Kiser, Troy Reeder, and Ernest Jones. Behind them, nothing is really guaranteed. Travin Howard and Kenny Young will be seen as favorites, but there is potential for someone to sneak into the conversation.
Rozeboom has spent much of the last year developing and according to Jourdan Rodrigue, is somebody that the Rams really like.
Since camp, have continued to hear good things about many of these guys, including names that keep popping up: Banks, Perkins, Rozeboom
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) January 18, 2021
Rozeboom has also been among the several linebacker rotations throughout minicamp. Rozeboom has very good tackling ability and has a nose for the football. In the past, the Rams have had success with undrafted free agent linebackers in Troy Reeder and Cory Littleton. Rozeboom has potential to add his name to that list. Don’t be surprised to find his name on the final roster after spending last year on the practice squad.
iOL AJ Jackson
Alaric “AJ” Jackson was one of the steal signings in undrafted free agency for the Rams. Many saw Jackson as a late day two or even day three draft pick. Instead he went undrafted and the Rams were fortunate enough to sign him. Jackson likely would not start for the Rams, but he could very well take a depth piece. That spot has belonged to Jamil Demby in the past. However, in his opportunities, Demby has not impressed.
Like Demby coming into the league, Jackson is a tackle that will transition to guard. However, while Demby came out of Maine, Jackson was signed out of one of the best offensive line factories in the country at Iowa.
Jackson will need to develop, but it’s unlikely that the Rams cut Jackson and risk losing him on the waiver wire in order to stash him on the practice squad. Jackson has potential to be a very good depth piece during his rookie year while learning behind starters such as Andrew Whitworth, David Edwards, and Austin Corbett.
The Iowa product will need to continue to develop while also changing positions and moving inside. Jackson has a lot of potential and should be seen as a favorite for a final roster spot.
QB Bryce Perkins
Would the Los Angeles Rams actually roster three quarterbacks? Perkins was active for the playoff game last season against Green Bay. He was an undrafted free agent that spent most of the year on the practice squad. Perkins remains someone that the coaching staff is impressed with as he continues to develop.
Perkins won’t take the backup quarterback role of John Wolford, at least this season. He still needs to make development in his accuracy and processing. However, Perkins brings something to the quarterback position that Stafford or even Wolford can’t – extreme athleticism.
Stafford has the ability to scramble and escape pressure as well as Wolford. However, Perkins is someone that the Rams could use in a Taysom Hill-like role this season if they wanted to. That would add another dimension to the Sean McVay offense that we simply haven’t seen yet.
TE Kendall Blanton
It may seem strange just one year after drafting him, but Brycen Hopkins’ roster spot seems less than guaranteed. He played just three snaps all last year, and that was despite Tyler Higbee suffering an injury and missing a game. Meanwhile, in OTA’s and minicamp, it’s Jacob Harris making plays rather than Hopkins.
Blanton had three receptions for 29 yards and a touchdown during the 2019 preseason. Since then, he’s spent time on the practice squad. Blanton looks the part at tight end, but came to the Rams undrafted out of Missouri. During his rookie year, he beat out players like Romello Booker.
The Rams will likely keep four tight ends. The top three will be Tyler Higbee, Johnny Mundt, and Jacob Harris. The fourth spot might come down to who provides more value as a blocker and on special teams. If that’s the case, don’t count out Blanton who has taken time to work alongside Andrew Whitworth and is now going into his third year with the team.
S Paris Ford
Ford may be less of a surprise on this list and most fans know who he is. However, as an undrafted free agent, the climb to making the final roster is always an uphill battle. That will be no different for Paris Ford who enters a deep group at safety. The Rams currently have a solid group of Jordan Fuller, Taylor Rapp, Terrell Burgess, and Nick Scott who are all established players.
However, the battle for the fifth safety spot will be an exciting one all throughout training camp. Ford was an impressive box safety at Pitt and could provide some value on special teams. He didn’t test well prior to the draft, which is a large reason why he went undrafted. However, Ford’s speed on tape didn’t match the testing. There is a chance that the Rams got a very good depth safety as an undrafted free agent.