The Los Angeles Rams wrapped up the preseason on Saturday with a 17-12 loss to the Denver Broncos. While the Rams finish the preseason 0-3, it’s not the record that matters in the preseason. It’s finding out that players like Chris Garrett can play at the NFL level.
Over the past several weeks I’ve given a weekly 53-man roster prediction. The Los Angeles Rams are at 80 players currently and will need to be down to 53 by Tuesday. Here’s my prediction of the final cut.
Previous 53-man roster predictions
- Post-NFL Draft Edition
- Pre-Training Camp Edition
- Offseason Edition 2.0
- Post-Preseason Week 1 Edition
- Post-Sony Michel Trade
Bryce Perkins – Practice Squad
It’s a move that will surprise people, but the Los Angeles Rams haven’t typically kept three quarterbacks on their roster. Bryce Perkins has played admirably throughout the preseason, but he still clearly has his limitations as a passer. It’s certainly risky cutting Perkins and hoping that he clears waivers. However, if the Rams do cut Perkins and another team puts a claim in, that other team is either making Perkins their backup or also keeping him as a third quarterback.
The Rams have other places on the roster such as offensive line and defensive line that are a better use of depth rather than a third quarterback. This is a very difficult decision and it won’t be popular, but at the end of the day, it’s just hard to see the Rams keeping three quarterbacks. A third quarterback just provides very little value on the roster.
Running Back (3)
Xavier Jones – Practice Squad
Jake Funk surprisingly did not play on Saturday. That leads me to believe that he has that third running back spot locked up. It’s possible that the Rams keep four running backs, but my guess is that they stash Jones on the practice squad and either sign someone else who gets cut or look to sign a veteran within the first few weeks.
Tight End (4)
It’s very difficult to keep Brycen Hopkins on the roster, but as a fourth round pick last year, he should make it. The Los Angeles Rams have also switched him from being a pass-catching tight end to being more of an in-line blocking tight end. It’s going to come down to Hopkins and Blanton and as it stands, I’m siding with Hopkins.
Wide Receiver (6)
Ben Skowronek – Injured Reserve
JJ Koski – Practice Squad
Jeremiah Haydel – Practice squad.
Overall, I’ve remained consistent at wide receiver. This is the clear top-six. Even when Ben Skowronek is healthy, I see him as more of a practice squad candidate. Trishton Jackson has earned a spot on the final 53-man roster and is actually a year younger than Skowronek.
JJ Koski has had a respectable preseason and should get a spot on the practice squad. One player to keep an eye on is Jeremiah Haydel. It’ll be interesting to see what the Rams do with Haydel. Making the final 53 will be difficult. However, he’s one of the few players with experience as a kick returner. The team cut Raymond Calais last week and Haydel had a few good returns against the Broncos. At the very least he should be a practice squad candidate.
Offensive Line (9)
Jordan Meredith – Practice Squad
Alaric Jackson – Practice Squad
Chandler Brewer – Practice Squad
Offensive line is where things get pretty tricky. This is a group that has improved as the preseason has gone on. Against the Denver Broncos, there were times when they were pushing their starting defensive line around in the run game and giving Perkins solid time to throw.
Chandler Brewer is someone that the Los Angeles Rams really like and Alaric Jackson is also someone to watch as someone who could sneak onto the final roster. Would the Rams cut Bobby Evans? That seems unlikely as he’s at least an experienced depth piece.
Defensive Line (6)
Bobby Brown III
Earnest Brown IV
A’Shawn Robinson – Injured Reserve
Jonah Williams – Practice Squad
A’Shawn Robinson is getting a minor procedure done on his knee which could sideline him for around a month. The Rams could put him on short-term IR and create a spot for someone else. Michael Hoecht has shown flashes in the preseason and the Rams will need his depth while Robinson is out for the first month of the season. Afterwards, he’ll be someone that the team can stash on the practice squad.
A surprise cut here might be Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. The fact of the matter is, Okoronkwo has been unable to stay healthy. Ever since his rookie year, he’s been a player that flashes in camp but never seems to make an impact or be available during the regular season. He’s on the final year of his contract and the Rams likely wouldn’t use a practice squad spot on him.
Terrell Lewis was playing deep into the game against the Denver Broncos, but that’s more because Lewis needs the reps after missing a good portion of the offseason dealing with knee issues. He played very well when he was on the field, including tipping a pass that led to an interception.
Chris Garrett has been one of the more impressive players throughout the preseason. He almost had another sack of Drew Lock against the Broncos. With pass rushers needed around the league, Garrett won’t make it through waivers.
Christian Rozeboom – Practice Squad
For a second consecutive week Micah Kiser was playing deep into the second half. That doesn’t bode well for a player that was considered a starter for the Los Angeles Rams last season. However, Kiser does bring experience to an inexperienced linebacker group. He should sneak onto the final roster.
Kareem Orr – Practice Squad
Brontae Harris – Practice Squad
We got our first look at Dont’e Deayon in the preseason against the Denver Broncos. Deayon had a few good moments, including a pass breakup that forced fourth down on the Broncos opening drive. Kareem Orr had a very good preseason as well as Brontae Harris. Both players should be in line for practice squad roles.
Troy Warner – Practice Squad
JuJu Hughes – Practice Squad
The top four in this group have always been a lock. The question has been which fifth safety do the Rams keep. JR Reed has had an outstanding preseason and has earned a spot on the 53-man roster. JuJu Hughes will get consideration, but will get practice squad consideration.
Special Teams (3)
Johnny Hekker spent Saturday’s game watching from home for a second straight week as he was on the COVID/Reserved list. Corey Bojorquez seemed to make it a point to win the punting job with the help of the Denver altitude. Bojorquez downed four punts inside the 20 which included two inside the five yard line. He had a 70 yard punt that landed on the Broncos one-yard line.
Hekker is the longest-tenured Los Angeles Rams player and is a Hall of Fame punter. However, his big contract makes him hard to keep and it also make him hard to trade. If the Rams trade Hekker, it will likely be for a sixth or seventh round pick. However, given Hekker’s contract, an outright cut is also possible.