With four days until the Los Angeles Rams play their first preseason game against the Chargers, the team released it’s first unofficial depth chart. While a depth chart at this point in the offseason doesn’t mean a lot, it also isn’t completely useless. It’s still possible to see how the team views certain players. Here are my takeaways from the unofficial depth chart release.
The first unofficial depth chart for the Rams. Doesn’t mean everything, but also not something to completely ignore either. pic.twitter.com/lzV2TFDdb3
— BGrisakDTR💭 (@bgrisakDTR) August 10, 2021
Troy Reeder and Kenny Young Listed as Starters
The battle at inside linebacker on the Los Angeles Rams depth chart has been one in which fans have kept an eye on all offseason. Some have favored players like Micah Kiser and others were excited to see what Travin Howard looked like coming back from injury. Now, this isn’t set in stone and it’s likely that the Rams will rotate their linebackers throughout games. However, it is notable that the Rams have these two players listed as their top two guys.
Reeder is a super athletic player and totaled 81 tackles last season. Kenny Young was someone that was ‘just there’ last season and didn’t make a huge impact. In fact, I had Young as one of my potential surprise cuts. However, for now, Young is the Rams starting linebacker and looks to have solidified his place on the roster.
Behind Reeder and Young, the Rams have Travin Howard and Micah Kiser and then Ernest Jones and Christian Rozenboom as the third string pairing. It’s worth noting that Jones has been paired with Travin Howard at points in camp and gotten some second string reps.
Cooper Kupp Listed as Starting Punt Returner
Please do not allow the Los Angeles Rams to have Cooper Kupp to return punts this season. Kupp fumbled a return last season that led directly to a Philadelphia Eagles touchdown.
Hopefully this doesn’t stand, but it also would not be surprising if it did. Kupp is a trusted veteran that has experience over the last few seasons returning punts. He’s at least someone that the coaching staff can trust over a rookie or fourth string running back/defensive back.
However, it also wouldn’t be surprising to see a change here over the next few weeks. TuTu Atwell was very recently just activated off of the COVID/Reserved list. Atwell had to miss 10 days of training camp because of the positive test or close contact. Because of this, he missed valuable time and reps returning punts and as a wide receiver. Atwell could move into that role over the next few weeks.
Jacob Harris a Fifth String Tight End
Is Jacob Harris the fifth tight end on the Los Angeles Rams roster? Likely not.
The Rams typically list their rookies lower on the depth chart, especially the first one. However, I do think that this is worth noting. I’ve been strongly in the camp that Jacob Harris is going to take time to develop. While he can certainly develop into a special player, that could take time.
As I’ve said, he’s still a rookie tight end changing positions. He is likely a “tweener” tight end that will be more of a receiver, but he’s still going to have some tight end responsibilities. His development could take a year which is totally fine. He’s an exciting player with potential this is through the roof.
Harris may be listed as the fifth tight end, but the Rams won’t be keeping five tight ends and Kendall Blanton will likely get the short end of the stick.
Justin Hollins A Starting Edge Rusher
Justin Hollins was another player that I considered a potential surprise cut. The theory was that Brandon Staley pounded the table for him and Staley was no longer with the Los Angeles Rams. However, Hollins has carved his way onto this Rams roster in a big way.
As it stands, he’s listed as the starting edge rusher on the opposite side of Floyd. Hollins will likely rotate with players like Terrell Lewis and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. However, Hollins is going to be the primary guy. Playing just 34% of the team’s defensive snaps in 2020, Hollins ended up with three sacks.
According to Pro Football Focus, he had three sacks on 14 pressures which is a very good conversion rate. It will be interesting to see Hollins in a more full-time role.
Austin Corbett the Starting Center
We’ll see how long this holds up as it could change by as early as next week. According to The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, Brian Allen might be re-taking the starting center position.
Allen was with the quarterbacks working on QB/center exchange and snapping for warmup reps w Stafford, and Corbett moved back with the guards during warmup portion as practice opens.
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) August 10, 2021
This seems to be a fluid situation. However, McVay said that if the Los Angeles Rams season started this week against the Chicago Bears, Brian Allen would be the starter.
Corbett was the team’s starting guard last season and performed very well there. Meanwhile, Allen played poorly in 2019 and his season was cut short due to injury. He also missed all of last year because of an injury. If Allen came back stronger and better, it’s a move that could pay off. However, that is TBD.