St. Louis Rams Roster 2012: Latest News, Cuts, Preseason Predictions

Steven GerwelContributor IIIAugust 2, 2012

St. Louis Rams Roster 2012: Latest News, Cuts, Preseason Predictions

0 of 19

    The St. Louis Rams began training camp on Sunday, July 29, and the grueling Missouri summer heat will whip the team into shape by the end of August. 

    The franchise is looking to mold a roster in Jeff Fisher's image, which naturally consists of hard-nosed defense and a punishing run game. 

    Many of the long shots will crack under the pressure and will be forced to watch the games on television, like the rest of us. 

    But those who step up to the challenge will suit up for the season opener in Detroit and will be trusted with the responsibility of rejuvenating a team that hasn't had a winning season since 2003. 

    Before we know who will play and who will go home, the roster will be put under a microscope over the next month. 

    This article will track the various roster moves over the next several weeks and will provide you with a position-by-position look at the 2012 Rams. 

Latest Roster Moves

1 of 19

    7/29/2012: The St. Louis Rams kicked off their first day of training camp by signing star defensive end Chris Long to a four-year contract extension. It was later revealed that the extension will pay him $57.75 million over the next five years (according to NFL.com). 

Full Team Roster and Projected Depth Chart

2 of 19

    Quarterback (4)

    Sam Bradford, Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis, Tom Brandstater

     

    Running Back (7)

    Steven Jackson, Isaiah Pead, Daryl Richardson, Calvin Middleton, Chase Reynolds, Nicholas Schweiger, Todd Anderson

     

    Fullback (3)

    Ovie Mughelli, Brit Miller, Ben Guidugli

     

    Tight End (8)

    Lance Kendricks, Michael Hoomanawanui, DeAngelo Peterson, Matthew Mulligan, Brody Eldridge, Cory Harkey, Mike McNeill, Jamie Childers 

     

    Wide Receiver (10)

    Danny Amendola, Brian Quick, Greg Salas, Steve Smith, Chris Givens, Danario Alexander, Brandon Gibson, Austin Pettis, Mike Campbell, Nick Johnson

     

    Offensive Tackle (5)

    Rodger Saffold, Jason Smith, Barry Richardson, Joe Long, Jose Valdez 

     

    Offensive Guard (6)

    Harvey Dahl, Quinn Ojinnaka, Rokevious Watkins, Kevin Hughes, Bryan Mattison, Michael Hay

     

    Center (4)

    Scott Wells, Robert Turner, T-Bob Herbert, Tim Barnes

     

    Defensive End (6)

    Chris Long, Robert Quinn, William Hayes, Eugene Sims, Jamaar Jarrett, Scott Smith

     

    Defensive Tackle (7)

    Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford, Trevor Laws, Jermelle Cudjo, Matthew Conrath, Darell Scott, Cornell Banks

     

    Outside Linebacker (7)

    Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Rocky McIntosh, Mario Haggan, Sammy Brown, Justin Cole, Aaron Brown, Alex Hoffman-Ellis

     

    Middle Linebackers (3)

    James Laurinaitis, Josh Hull, Noah Keller

     

    Cornerback (8)

    Janoris Jenkins, Cortland Finnegan, Bradley Fletcher, Josh Gordy, Trumaine Johnson, Jerome Murphy, Kendric Burney, Jeremy Caldwell

     

    Safety (6)

    Quintin Mikell, Darian Stewart, Craig Dahl, Matt Daniels, Rodney McLeod, Quinton Pointer

     

    Kicker (2)

    Greg Zuerlein, Garrett Lindholm

     

    Punter (2)

    John Hekker, Tom Malone

     

    Long Snapper (2)

    Jake McQuaide, Travis Tripucka 

Last 5 in

3 of 19

    QB Tom Brandstater has been bounced around the NFL since 2009 and has been repeatedly cut from NFL rosters. Austin Davis is looking like a lock for the third-string quarterback job. 

     

    FB Ben Guidugli converted to fullback from tight end and will greatly struggle to make the roster since the Rams have returning starter Britt Miller and former Pro Bowler Ovie Mughelli already on the roster. 

     

    LB Jamie Childers is last in a line of seven outside linebackers trying to make the squad. Unless his special teams play is remarkable, he's a long shot at best. 

     

    WR Nick Johnson has nine wide receivers ahead of him on the depth chart. 2011 starter Brandon Gibson will have enough trouble making the roster, which means someone like Johnson barely stands a chance. 

     

    T Jose Valdez is limited in his ability to contribute on special teams, like most offensive linemen, so it will be hard to justify handing him a roster spot. Although, he could find a spot on the practice squad with a remarkable camp performance. 

Last 5 out

4 of 19

    TE Jamie Childers was cut from the roster on Thursday, August 16, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In Childers' place, the team added wide receivers Charles Gilbert and Brandyn Harvey. 

Quarterbacks

5 of 19

    QBs on roster: Sam Bradford, Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis, Tom Brandstater

    Projected starter: Sam Bradford

    Offseason additions: Austin Davis 

    Roster cuts: None

    Projected final roster: Sam Bradford, Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis (Practice Squad)

     

    Sam Bradford is a former No. 1 overall draft pick and was the 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year, so he is the obvious starter and will be expected to bounce back from an abysmal sophomore slump. 

    Kellen Clemens showed some promise last season while Bradford was injured and nearly led the Rams to a comeback against the San Francisco 49ers during the season finale. 

    Clemens also has five years of experience in offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's offense thanks to their time together in New York, so Clemens is basically a lock as the team's backup. 

    Tom Brandstater and Austin Davis will battle for the third-string job, but the rookie Davis has shown promise and is expected to win the competition. 

Running Backs

6 of 19

    RBs on roster: Steven Jackson, Isaiah Pead, Daryl Richardson, Calvin Middleton, Chase Reynolds, Nicholas Schweiger, Todd Anderson, Ovie Mughelli (FB), Brit Miller (FB), Ben Guidugli (FB)

    Projected starter: Steven Jackson, Ovie Mughelli (FB)

    Offseason additions: Isaiah Pead, Daryl Richardson, Calvin Middleton, Nicholas Schweiger, Todd Anderson, Ovie Mughelli (FB)

    Roster cuts: None

    Projected final roster: Steven Jackson, Isaiah Pead, Daryl Richardson, Ovie Mughelli (FB) 

     

    Steven Jackson turned 29 years old a week before training camp began, but the Pro Bowler and face of the franchise will be expected to turn in another productive year and perhaps his eighth consecutive 1,000-yard season. 

    But Jackson's age cannot be ignored, which is why the Rams used a second-round draft pick on speedster Isaiah Pead, who will carry a portion of the load every week. 

    Daryl Richardson, who the Rams drafted in the seventh round last April, is expected to be the third running back and will be a special teams asset. 

    Calvin Middleton is a bruising runner and is the only other running back who has a shot at making the team. 

    At fullback, the Rams signed 2010 Pro Bowler Ovie Mughelli in free agency and will likely keep him as the team's only fullback. 

Wide Receivers

7 of 19

    WRs on roster: Danny Amendola, Brian Quick, Greg Salas, Steve Smith, Chris Givens, Danario Alexander, Brandon Gibson, Austin Pettis, Mike Campbell, Nick Johnson

    Projected starters: Brian Quick, Greg Salas, Danny Amendola (Slot)

    Offseason additions: Brian Quick, Steve Smith, Chris Givens, Mike Campbell, Nick Johnson

    Roster cuts: None

    Projected final roster: Danny Amendola, Brian Quick, Greg Salas, Steve Smith, Chris Givens, Danario Alexander

     

    The St. Louis Rams struggled to produce on offense during the 2011 season, and a major cause of that was a group of mediocre wide receivers.

    The team used draft picks on Brian Quick (second round) and Chris Givens (fourth round), while also signing former Pro Bowler Steve Smith in free agency. All three players are expected to make the squad.

    Danny Amendola was lost during the team's 2011 season opener against Philadelphia thanks to an elbow injury, but his return is expected to have a big impact on the offense.

    Greg Salas and Austin Pettis are two mid-round draft picks from a year ago. Salas is generating a lot of hype, while Pettis will struggle to make the roster.  

    Brandon Gibson and Danario Alexander will fight for the final roster spot. 

    Alexander is clearly the better receiver, but a chronic knee condition may force the Rams to stick with the more dependable Gibson. 

Tight Ends

8 of 19

    TEs on roster: Lance Kendricks, Michael Hoomanawanui, DeAngelo Peterson, Matthew Mulligan, Brody Eldridge, Cory Harkey, Mike McNeill, Jamie Childers 

    Projected starters: Lance Kendricks, Michael Hoomanawanui

    Offseason additions: DeAngelo Peterson, Matthew Mulligan, Brody Eldridge, Cory Harkey, Mike McNeill, Jamie Childers

    Roster cuts: None

    Projected final roster: Lance Kendricks, Michael Hoomanawanui, Matthew Mulligan, DeAngelo Peterson

     

    The St. Louis Rams are making due with inexperienced and questionable wide receivers, so they'll be looking for some unexpected production from the tight end position. 

    Lance Kendricks was a second-round pick in 2011 and was supposed to be a vital part of the offense moving forward, but Kendricks struggled with dropped passes and could not be depended on. 

    If Kendricks can regain his focus, then he'll provide the offense with a dangerous weapon. 

    Michael Hoomanwanui has proven to be a useful offensive weapon, but he has been incapable of staying on the field thanks to numerous injuries during his first two NFL seasons. 

    DeAngelo Peterson is an undrafted rookie out of Louisiana State and is a solid receiver, but his blocking skills need to improve. 

    Matthew Mulligan joined the team in free agency and is expected to make the roster purely as a blocking specialist. 

Offensive Tackles

9 of 19

    OTs on roster: Rodger Saffold, Jason Smith, Barry Richardson, Joe Long, Jose Valdez 

    Projected starters: Rodger Saffold (Left Tackle), Jason Smith (Right Tackle)

    Offseason additions: Barry Richardson, Joe Long, Jose Valdez 

    Roster cuts: None

    Projected final roster: Rodger Saffold, Jason Smith, Barry Richardson

     

    The success of third-year quarterback Sam Bradford and the entire offense greatly depends on the production of the starting tackles. 

    Rodger Saffold was a second-round pick in 2010 and was arguably the best rookie lineman in the NFL, but he struggled to continue his growth in 2011 and was a disappointment. 

    Jason Smith, who is unbelievably a former No. 2 overall pick, is a bust. Forget fulfilling his No. 2 overall status; the Rams would be thrilled with him merely becoming an average starter. 

    Saffold and Smith will have to play up to par in order for the Rams' offense to improve. 

    Barry Richardson was signed in free agency and has experience as a starter, but he was a disaster at right tackle in Kansas City

    The rest of the tackles are just camp bodies with no shot at making the roster. The rest of the depth will come from Quinn Ojinnaka and Kevin Hughes, who are both guards capable of moving outside. 

Offensive Guards

10 of 19

    OGs on roster: Harvey Dahl, Quinn Ojinnaka, Rokevious Watkins, Kevin Hughes, Bryan Mattison, Michael Hay

    Projected starters: Quinn Ojinnaka (Left Guard), Harvey Dahl (Right Guard)

    Offseason additions: Quinn Ojinnaka, Rokevious Watkins, Michael Hay 

    Roster cuts: None

    Projected final roster: Harvey Dahl, Quinn Ojinnaka, Rokevious Watkins, Kevin Hughes, Bryan Mattison

     

    Until center Scott Wells returns to action from his offseason knee scope, Harvey Dahl will remain the best offensive lineman on the team. 

    But while Dahl has the right guard position solidified, the left side is one of the biggest holes on the entire roster. 

    Quinn Ojinnaka is currently the favorite for the position, unless rookie fifth-round pick "Rok" Watkins decides to get his 350-pound rear in shape and put up a fight.  

    Kevin Hughes and Bryan Mattison both saw action for the Rams last season after the line was bombarded with injuries. They'll be depended on for depth, while Hughes will also be a backup tackle.

    Robert Turner is currently the starting center until Wells returns to action, but don't be surprised if he gets into the mix for the left guard competition at some point down the line. 

Centers

11 of 19

    OCs on roster: Scott Wells, Robert Turner, T-Bob Herbert, Tim Barnes

    Projected starter: Scott Wells

    Offseason additions: Scott Wells, Robert Turner, T-Bob Herbert

    Roster cuts: None.

    Projected final roster: Scott Wells, Robert Turner, T-Bob Herbert (Practice Squad)

     

    The St. Louis Rams went out and signed Scott Wells during free agency, which could prove to be the most important signing of the offseason. 

    Wells has worked with great quarterbacks during his time in Green Bay (Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers), so he'll be a valuable asset for Sam Bradford. 

    Robert Turner has only started two games in his five-year career, but all five of his NFL seasons have been under Brian Schottenheimer in New York, so he's acquainted with the offense and will be the backup center. 

    Tim Barnes and rookie T-Bob Herbert will struggle to make the roster, but both players are ideal candidates for the practice squad. 

Defensive Ends

12 of 19

    DEs on roster: Chris Long, Robert Quinn, William Hayes, Eugene Sims, Jamaar Jarrett, Scott Smith

    Projected starters: Chris Long (Left End), Robert Quinn (Right End)

    Offseason additions: William Hayes, Jamaar Jarrett, Scott Smith

    Roster cuts: None.

    Projected final roster: Chris Long, Robert Quinn, William Hayes, Eugene Sims

     

    The St. Louis Rams signed Chris Long to a four-year contract extension worth $57.75 million at the beginning of training camp (according to NFL.com).

    Long is coming off a 13-sack season and is expected to be one of the few elite players on the team in 2012. 

    Robert Quinn recorded 5.5 sacks as a rookie in 2011 and put up those numbers in very limited playing time. If he didn't lose playing time as a result of his poor run defense, then he realistically could have had a double-digit sack season as a rookie. 

    If there's one thing the Rams will do well in 2012, it's getting after the quarterback. And it will continue to be a team strength as long as Long and Quinn are rushing the edge.

    As far as depth, veteran William Hayes will provide valuable behind Long and Quinn in the No. 3 role, while Sims will look to finally establish himself under the new coaching staff. 

Defensive Tackles

13 of 19

    DTs on roster: Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford, Trevor Laws, Jermelle Cudjo, Matthew Conrath, Darell Scott, Cornell Banks

    Projected starters: Michael Brockers (1-Technique), Kendall Langford (3-Technique)

    Offseason additions: Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford, Trevor Laws, Matthew Conrath, Cornell Banks

    Roster cuts: None. 

    Projected final roster: Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford, Jermelle Cudjo, Trevor Laws, Matthew Conrath (Practice Squad)

     

    The St. Louis Rams finished with the second-worst run defense in the NFL last season after giving up 152.1 rushing yards per game. 

    As a result, the team decided to completely revitalize the defensive tackle position, which included drafting Michael Brockers at No. 14 overall and signing Kendall Langford in free agency. 

    Langford was a stout run defender in Miami, while the 322-pound Brockers is a beast who will require blockers to double team him. 

    Trevor Laws, who the team added in free agency, showed some promise as a pass rusher in Philadelphia and will be the No. 3 tackle. Expect him to sub in for Brockers on obvious passing downs.

    Jermelle Cudjo and Matthew Conrath will likely be battling each other for the final roster spot, while Darell Scott and Cornell Banks will be forced to try their luck with another team. 

    Matthew Conrath is generating a lot of buzz at training camp, but it would be a surprise if he made the roster over more experience players. The Rams will try to sneak him on the practice squad. 

Outside Linebackers

14 of 19

    OLBs on roster: Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Rocky McIntosh, Mario Haggan, Sammy Brown, Justin Cole, Aaron Brown, Alex Hoffman-Ellis

    Projected starters: Jo-Lonn Dunbar (Strong Side), Rocky McIntosh (Weak Side)

    Offseason additions: Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Rocky McIntosh, Mario Haggan, Sammy Brown, Justin Cole, Aaron Brown, Alex Hoffman-Ellis

    Roster cuts: None

    Projected final roster: Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Rocky McIntosh, Mario Haggan, Sammy Brown, Aaron Brown (Practice Squad)

     

    One of the more low-key signings for the St. Louis Rams during free agency was Jo-Lonn Dunbar of the New Orleans Saints

    The 27-year-old Dunbar is entering his prime and has started 22 games over the last two seasons, including 14 starts in 2011. 

    At 226 pounds, Dunbar is undersized but is capable of playing both outside linebacker positions. His coverage skills are also superior to the other linebackers on the team (other than James Laurinaitis). 

    Rocky McIntosh, another pickup in free agency, has a shot at being the weak-side starter due to his previous success in the 4-3 defense during his time in Washington

    Mario Haggan will fight for a starting job and could ultimately succeed, but he'll certainly provide depth not only as a linebacker, but as an emergency defensive end. 

    The Rams will also be looking to retain one of their rookie linebackers to groom for the future, and Sammy Brown is the most promising youngster with his impressive pass-rush skills.

    They may keep a second rookie for the practice squad, and that spot would likely go to Aaron Brown or Alex Hoffman-Ellis. 

Middle Linebackers

15 of 19

    MLBs on roster: James Laurinaitis, Josh Hull, Noah Keller

    Projected starter: James Laurinaitis

    Offseason additions: Noah Keller

    Roster cuts: None

    Projected final roster: James Laurinaitis, Josh Hull

     

    If James Laurinaitis were playing for a playoff-caliber team, then he'd likely be a two-time Pro Bowler at this point. But since he's with the St. Louis Rams, he's overlooked by the league. 

    However, while others may be unaware of his value, the Rams appreciate his contributions and depend on him as the leader of the defense. 

    The improvements at outside linebacker and defensive tackle will allow Laurinaitis to piece together his best season to date, at least in theory. 

    Josh Hull will be entering his third year and is expected to be Laurinaitis' backup. He'll also carry some value as a special teams contributor. 

    Noah Keller is a camp body who will look to establish himself on special teams, but his chances of making the roster are slim. 

Cornerbacks

16 of 19

    CBs on roster: Janoris Jenkins, Cortland Finnegan, Bradley Fletcher, Josh Gordy, Trumaine Johnson, Jerome Murphy, Kendric Burney, Jeremy Caldwell

    Projected starters: Janoris Jenkins, Cortland Finnegan 

    Offseason additions: Janoris Jenkins, Cortland Finnegan, Trumaine Johnson, Kendric Burney, Jeremy Caldwell

    Roster cuts: None

    Projected final roster: Janoris Jenkins, Cortland Finnegan, Bradley Fletcher, Josh Gordy, Trumaine Johnson, Jerome Murphy

     

    Many people assume that Jeff Fisher beefed up the cornerback position because of the multiple injuries that occurred last season. 

    While that's partially true, Fisher also realizes that the St. Louis Rams have two defensive ends that can effectively get to the quarterback. He knows that if the secondary can buy them just another second of coverage, then the quarterback will pay for it. 

    Fisher put the secondary through a complete makeover. As a result, Chris Long and Robert Quinn are extremely grateful. 

    Janoris Jenkins is an elite talent who will develop into a shutdown corner if he remains focused. On the opposite side, the Rams have one of the better corners in the NFL in Cortland Finnegan. 

    Bradley Fletcher is the No. 3 corner and has experience as a full-time starter. He is very effective when healthy. 

    Josh Gordy was forced into a starting role last season after numerous injuries. He excelled with three interceptions and 43 tackles. 

    Rookie third-round pick Trumaine Johnson and third-year pro Jerome Murphy will sit at the bottom of the depth chart, but both players are more than capable of contributing if needed. 

    The Rams have six extremely talented cornerbacks, which will make it very difficult for Kendric Burney and Jeremy Caldwell to get noticed. Both players have almost no chance at making the roster unless there's an injury. 

Safeties

17 of 19

    Safeties on roster: Quintin Mikell, Darian Stewart, Craig Dahl, Matt Daniels, Rodney McLeod, Quinton Pointer

    Projected starters: Quintin Mikell, Darian Stewart

    Offseason additions: Matt Daniels, Rodney McLeod, Quinton Pointer

    Roster cuts: None.

    Projected final roster: Quintin Mikell, Darian Stewart, Craig Dahl, Matt Daniels (Practice Squad)

     

    Last year, Quintin Mikell was signed to a four-year deal worth $27 million (according to Spotrac) and was considered to be the St. Louis Rams' top addition in free agency. 

    Mikell was one of the better players on defense last season, but he was hardly the same Pro Bowl player he was in Philadelphia. 

    Now that Mikell is playing in a new defensive scheme under Jeff Fisher, it's difficult to gauge where he stands and how much he'll be valued in the new defense. 

    But even if the new coaches aren't as optimistic regarding Mikell's abilities, he's still expected to be the top safety on the team. 

    Playing next to Mikell is Darian Stewart. Stewart was an undrated rookie in 2010 and has done nothing but improve since arriving in St. Louis, so he'll be expected to continue that trend in 2012. 

    Craig Dahl has been getting reps with the first-team defense at training camp this year (according to Mike Sando of ESPN), but it would be shocking if he was a Week 1 starter, especially with his horrendous pass defense. 

    Dahl will likely be the third and final safety on the roster. Cornerbacks Trumaine Johnson and Jerome Murphy are capable of moving up top if needed, so there's no reason to keep more than three safeties. 

    Matt Daniels is an undrated rookie and has been generating a lot of buzz leading up to training camp, but the practice squad is probably a best case scenario for him. 

Kicking Specialists

18 of 19

    Kicking specialists on roster: Greg Zuerlein (K), Garrett Lindholm (K), John Hekker (P), Tom Malone (P) 

    Projected starters: Greg Zuerlein (K), John Hekker (P)

    Offseason additions: Greg Zuerlein (K), Garrett Lindholm (K), John Hekker (P), Tom Malone (P) 

    Roster cuts: None.

    Projected final roster: Greg Zuerlein (K), John Hekker (P)

     

    The St. Louis Rams parted ways with veteran kicker Josh Brown and punter Donnie Jones, which allowed them to free up salary cap space by signing younger and cheaper kicking specialists. 

    The Rams used a sixth-round draft pick on Greg Zuerlein and he's expected to be the best kicker of his draft class. 

    According to an NFL.com report, Zuerlein has been nailing 60-yard kicks and has been a source of entertainment for the spectators. The Rams are already confident in his abilities. 

    The starting punter is a little more difficult to predict, but John Hekker has been viewed as the favorite over Tom Malone. 

Return Specialists

19 of 19

    Returners on roster: Janoris Jenkins, Danny Amendola, Isaiah Pead, Chris Givens

    Projected starters: Danny Amendola (KR), Janoris Jenkins (PR)

    Offseason additions: Janoris Jenkins, Isaiah Pead, Chris Givens

    Roster cuts: None.

    Projected final roster: Janoris Jenkins, Danny Amendola, Isaiah Pead, Chris Givens

     

    The return game is particularly interesting because it's been a long time since the St. Louis Rams have had so many talented options for kick and punt return duties. 

    Danny Amendola's return abilities were a major part of the offense in 2010, and he'll be relied on once again in 2012. 

    Amendola is dependable and capable of fighting for extra yards, but he lacks elite speed and will struggle to take a kick back for a score. 

    Perhaps, the Rams will keep the dependable Amendola on kick return duties, but save punt returns for a more explosive talent, such as Janoris Jenkins. 

    Kickoffs are typically fielded in the end-zone, which means the returner needs to take it over 100 yards for a score. But punts leave a shorter field, which is why the Rams should keep their most explosive runner on punt returns. 

    If Amendola and Jenkins are too important at their natural positions and the team doesn't want to risk injury, then Isaiah Pead and Chris Givens are two effective replacements.