Los Angeles Rams: 5 Players Who Need to Finish the Preseason Strong

by Blaine Grisak
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The Los Angeles Rams wrap up the preseason on Saturday evening when they take on the Denver Broncos on the road. With 80 players still on the roster, there will be plenty of spots up for grabs heading into the final week. It’s seems like this year is harder than others when narrowing down a 53-man roster. At this point, it’s typically deciding which fifth cornerback to keep or how many linebackers will be rostered. This year, there are questions at several positions.

Here are five players who need to play well in the final preseason game to solidify their spot on the roster.

RG Bobby Evans

It’s hard to say whether or not the Los Angeles Rams would cut Bobby Evans. However, though training camp and the preseason, Evans has not played well. Evans started the offseason as the team’s starting right guard. Brian Allen was then put at center in order to play Austin Corbett back at guard in replacement of Evans.

Thus far in the preseason, Evans has the worst pass-blocking grade according to Pro Football Focus among any of the Rams offensive linemen. Evans is a former third-round pick and has starting experience, but if he doesn’t play well on Saturday, it would give the Rams reason to cut him.

P Johnny Hekker

Does Johnny Hekker even play on Saturday? Hekker remains on the COVID list and if that’s the case heading into the weekend, Corey Bojorquez may do the unthinkable and unseat Hekker at punter. Bojorquez outperformed Hekker in the opening preseason game before both players missed last week.

The Rams likely wouldn’t outright cut Hekker. It’s possible that they could trade him for a sixth or seventh round pick and the Dallas Cowboys make the most sense in that scenario. Hekker is the longest-tenured Ram, but the team might be looking to get cheaper at the position.

S J.R. Reed and JuJu Hughes

J.R. Reed and JuJu Hughes seem to be battling it out for the final spot at safety. JuJu Hughes seemed to be performing well in camp. However, it has been Reed who has outperformed Hughes during the preseason. Reed and Hughes are the highest rated safeties for the Los Angeles Rams this preseason via Pro Football Focus, but both are one and two respectively.

A solid performance to keep fresh in Sean McVay and Les Snead’s mind before the team heads into roster cuts could be enough for one to make the roster over the other.

RB Xavier Jones

As it currently stands, Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel are locks to make the roster. Jake Funk is likely a lock as well as he was a draft pick and has performed respectable in the preseason. While Jones hasn’t played bad, he also hasn’t done enough for the Rams to warrant keeping all four running backs on the roster.

With tough decisions at other positions, the Rams might look to cut Jones and put him on the practice squad in order to keep Bryce Perkins as a third quarterback or keep an extra edge rusher. The Rams could also cut Jones and look to sign another running back off of waivers. Jones has averaged just 3.6 yards per attempt which is a full two yards fewer than Funk.

EDGE Chris Garrett

Heading into the offseason, some thought that the Los Angeles Rams could cut Garrett and be able to stash him on the practice squad. Coming from a Division II school, this made a lot of sense as some thought Garrett would need a full year of development going up against NFL-level competition.

However, that has not been the case. Garrett has played very well through two preseason games. According to Pro Football Focus, Garrett has the highest pass rush grade on the Rams. Another solid performance against the Denver Broncos and the Rams won’t be able to afford to cut Garrett and try to get him on the practice squad.

 

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