Rookie, Undrafted Free Agent Watch for St. Louis Rams Training Camp

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 20, 2013

Rookie, Undrafted Free Agent Watch for St. Louis Rams Training Camp

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    The best way to sustain long-term success in the NFL is by not only by drafting solid players, but also finding undrafted gems. 

    With that in mind, the big name free agents are not the most important newcomers, but it's the youngsters that will determine the Rams' success in the long run. 

    Here's a look at St. Louis' top rookies and where they stand entering training camp. 

Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver

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    College: West Virginia

    Draft Status: Round 1, Pick 8 

    Height: 5'9"

    Weight: 174 Pounds

    College Production (2012): 114 Receptions, 1,932 Total Yards, 15 Total Touchdowns

    Tavon Austin is an explosive player who can line up out wide, in the slot or in the backfield. He's also a dynamic return man who can bust out a touchdown at anytime. 

    Austin has Danny Amendola's quickness on short routes, and he has Chris Givens' breakaway speed on deep routes. 

    He'll add an exciting element to the offense and will be Sam Bradford's best friend for the next several years. 

Alec Ogletree, Linebacker

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    College: Georgia

    Draft Status: Round 1, Pick 30 

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 242 Pounds

    College Production (2012): 111 Tackles, 3.0 Sacks, 1 INT

    Alec Ogletree is a hard-hitting linebacker who can put a hurting on the ball-carrier, while he also has the athleticism to make big plays. 

    Ogletree will be an immediate starter alongside James Laurinaitis, and he will help solidify the run defense. 

    If Ogletree plays up to his potential as a rookie, it will help the Rams field a top-10 defense in 2013. 

T.J. McDonald, Safety

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    College: USC 

    Draft Status: Round 3

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 219 Pounds

    College Production (2012): 112 Tackles, 1.0 Sack, 2 INT

    T.J. McDonald was considered a first-round prospect for sometime, but he got a bad rep for being stiff in coverage, which dropped him to the third round. 

    Even if his coverage skills need some fine tuning, he's still a devastating hitter in run support and will be a useful weapon against the read-option quarterbacks of the NFC West. 

    McDonald is expected to start Week 1, but nothing is guaranteed.

Stedman Bailey, Wide Receiver

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    College: West Virginia

    Draft Status: Round 3

    Height: 5'10"

    Weight: 193 Pounds

    College Production (2012): 114 Receptions, 1,622 Receiving Yards, 25 Touchdowns 

    Stedman Bailey was highly productive as a receiver at West Virginia and will add an element of speed and solid route running to the St. Louis arsenal. 

    Bailey will likely spend most of his rookie year on the sidelines as he adapts to NFL speed and master his craft, but he'll certainly see limited action in his first year. 

    As a long-term project, Bailey could develop into a special player and has the Isaac Bruce skill set. 

Barrett Jones, Offensive Line

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    College: Alabama

    Draft Status: Round 4

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 306 Pounds

    College Production (2012): 14 Starts

    Barrett Jones will backup the fragile Scott Wells at center, who missed nine games in 2012, but he's a versatile weapon on the line and can play every position. 

    Jones will have a hard time winning a starting job as a rookie and will take a year or two to fully develop, but he's an extremely intelligent player with a lot of talent and will be a part of the St. Louis offensive line for a long time. 

    As far as value, it doesn't get any better than Jones in the fourth round. 

Brandon McGee, Cornerback

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    College: Miami

    Draft Status: Round 5

    Height: 5'11"

    Weight: 193 Pounds

    College Production (2012): 54 Tackles, Two INT 

    Brandon McGee was a solid corner at Miami, but he's not a big-time playmaker like Janoris Jenkins or Cortland Finnegan. 

    McGee is a solid coverage corner with good tackling skills. He'll see plenty of time on special teams and will serve as depth. 

    In a couple years, as he develops, he'll move up the depth chart and provide the Rams with steady play. 

Zac Stacy, Running Back

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    College: Vanderbilt

    Draft Status: Round 5

    Height: 5'8"

    Weight: 216 Pounds

    College Production (2012): 1,141 Rushing Yards, 10 Touchdowns

    Zac Stacy is a smaller running back, but he uses his lack of height to his advantage by getting low and gaining leverage against tacklers. 

    Stacy played in the SEC and frequently faced the best defenders in the country, yet he still finished as one of the better backs in college football last season. 

    Stacy will enter camp as the No. 3 back. He has a chance to be the full-time starter, but most likely, he'll see limited action as a rookie. 

Undrafted Free Agents

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    Undrafted Free Agent List (Courtesy of Angelo State WR C.J. Akins; Henderson State LB Robbie Aldridge; Miami S Ray Ray Armstrong; Lousiana Lafayette K Brett Baer; Auburn WR Emory Blake; BYU OT Braden Brown; Middle Tennessee State RB Benny Cunningham; Texas Tech S Cody Davis; Georgia MLB Michael Gillard; Georgia DT Garrett Gilliard; Regina LS Jorgen Hus; Auburn TE Philip Lutzenkirchen; Ole Miss DEGerald Rivers; Georgia LB Christian Robinson; Louisiana Tech OG Kevin Saiai; Memphis S Cannon Smith; Memphis CB Robert Steeples; California FB Eric Stevens; Houston LB Philip Steward; Texas-El Paso CB Drew Thomas; Texas A&M CB Darren Woodard; Texas A&M LB Jonathan Stewart


    With no sixth- or seventh-round draft picks, the St. Louis Rams decided to make up for it by bringing in an unusually large group of undrafted free agents. 

    The majority of the players are camp bodies and have a long ways to go before they see an NFL field on Sunday, but they may have found a few gems. 

    Cody Davis was a four-year player for Texas Tech and a promising safety who was expected to be drafted in a middle round, but didn't have his name called. He has a real shot at making the roster as the No. 4 or No. 5 safety. 

    Ray-Ray Armstrong was a rising star as a safety at Miami, but he'll be making the switch to outside linebacker in St. Louis. He's a physical player, so he's another player to keep an eye on. 

    Benny Cunningham is a speedy, small-school prospect out of Mid Tennessee. The Rams have a number of small, shifty backs already on the roster, so he has an uphill battle, but he could unseat Terrance Ganaway as the No. 4 back.