St. Louis Rams Undrafted Free Agents: Need-to-Know Info for Every Signee
That's not a total shock. The Rams had two top-15 selections, so head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead entered the draft with a clear advantage over other teams.
With the top selection (No. 2 overall), the Rams grabbed monster tackle Greg Robinson out of Auburn. He will open lanes for Zac Stacy and help keep Sam Bradford upright.
With the No. 13 pick, the Rams opted for defensive tackle Aaron Donald. He finished with an NFL-high 35 reps at the combine, per NFL.com. He's strong and fast and can rush the quarterback—perfect for the Rams defense.
Here's how the rest of the draft went:
Round 2 (No. 41 via Buffalo): DB Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State
Round 3 (No. 75): RB Tre Mason, Auburn
Round 4 (No. 110): S Maurice Alexander, Utah State
Round 6 (No. 188): CB E.J. Gaines, Missouri
Round 6 (No. 214): QB Garrett Gilbert, SMU
Round 7 (No. 226): T Mitchell Van Dyk, Portland State
Round 7 (No. 241): S Christian Bryant, Ohio State
Round 7 (No. 249): DE Michael Sam, Missouri
Round 7 (No. 250): C Demetrius Rhaney, Tennessee State
Despite this promising class, the fun is far from over. There are still a number of promising undrafted prospects available to be signed.
The Rams like to take advantage of this part of the process. Running back Benny Cunningham and linebackers Ray-Ray Armstrong and Daren Bates were undrafted rookies last season, and all three contributed in 2013.
St. Louis will attempt to find similar help this year. This article will highlight the top undrafted rookies available and keep you updated on each undrafted free-agent signing.
TE Alex Bayer, Bowling Green
Former Rams tight end Mike McNeill signed with the Carolina Panthers in free agency, so the Rams are in need of tight end depth behind starters Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks.
Alex Bayer, who the Rams signed according to Bowling Green's Twitter page, is a fine under-the-radar option out of Bowling Green. At 6'4" and 258 pounds, Bayer has the size to win one-on-one battles in the red zone as a receiver.
Bayer has just average speed for his size, so he's not a dominate down-field weapon, but he has the strength to get the tough yards on short routes.
Cory Harkey is the only backup tight end on the Rams worth mentioning, so Bayer actually has a solid shot at making the roster if he can come to training camp prepared.
CB Jarrid Bryant, South Dakota
South Dakota's Twitter page has confirmed that cornerback Jarrid Bryant is a member of the Rams.
The Rams heavily pursued defensive backs in the draft—Joyner, Alexander, Gaines, Bryant—and the team is apparently prepared to add more talent in the form of undrafted rookies.
Bryant spent two seasons with Arizona State before transferring to South Dakota for the 2013 season.
At 6'3", he has terrific height for a corner. He's a big, physical corner and belongs in the tough NFC West.
He's not a major playmaker—he had zero interceptions with Arizona State—but he's a capable tackler.
LB Aaron Hill, Minnesota
Aaron Hill is now a member of the St. Louis Rams, according to the Minnesota University football Twitter page.
Hill stands in at 6'1" and 231 pounds, so he's a bit slender for the inside, but he'll work as an outside linebacker in St. Louis 4-3 system.
Hill has a reputation as a tough, hard-nosed hitter. That seems to be a recurring theme when it comes the defensive talent that St. Louis has added over the weekend, and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is surely pleased as a result.
With second-year pros Ray Ray Armstrong and Daren Bates competing for the outside linebacker spot opposite Alec Ogletree, there's not a chance that Hill will see playing time on defense.
If seventh-round pick Michael Sam is converted to linebacker, Hill will have an even steeper hill to climb.
WR Jamaine Sherman, East Texas Baptist University
One position the Rams failed to address in the draft is wide receiver. The team only needs a true No. 1 receiver, so after missing out on Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans, drafting a receiver became pointless.
However, that's no reason to ignore the free agent receivers. The Rams signed small-school standout Jamaine Sherman out of East Texas Baptist University, according to the coach's Twitter page.
According to Sherman's school biography, he stands in at 6'3" and 205 pounds, making him a perfect target on the outside.
Outplaying Austin Pettis, Kenny Britt and Brian Quick will be a monumental task, but stranger things have happened.
FB Kadeem Jones, Western Kentucky
One thing the St. Louis roster lacks is a competent fullback. Tight end Lance Kendricks has some experience in the backfield, but he's better served at his natural position.
As a result, the team signed Kadeem Jones, according to the Western Kentucky school newspaper.
According to the school biography, Jones is the perfect fullback size at 5'11" and 246 pounds. It's a dying position, but Fisher is an old school coach.
Due to the lack of competition, Jones has a shot at making the roster—perhaps more so than any other undrafted rookie.
FS Avery Cunningham, Central Michigan
The Rams are not shy when it comes to pursuing defensive backs this year. After drafting three defensive backs in the draft, and signing Bryant in free agency, the team also added safety Avery Cunningham out of Central Michigan, according to the school's Twitter page.
The team roster has Cunningham listed at 6'0" and 200 pounds, giving him just enough size to stand up to the run game.
Also, it's not as though Central Michigan is some Division 2 afterthought. The school produced the No. 1 overall pick last year in Eric Fisher, and the team sees relatively solid competition.
There's a lot of competition, but Cunningham has the skills to make noise in camp.
OL Emmanuel McCray, Ole Miss
According to Jim Thomas of STLtoday.com, the Rams signed offensive lineman Emmanuel McCray of Ole Miss.
The Rams used three draft picks on offensive linemen, and the team is apparently still interested in bulking up the line.
According to McCray's school bio, he started 17 games at left against top-notch SEC competition. And given his listed size of 6'5" and 320 pounds, he'll most likely remain a tackle in the NFL.
RB Trey Watts, Tulsa
According to Thomas, the team also added running back Trey Watts out of Tulsa.
Watts had a breakout year in 2013 with 1,329 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. His school bio has him listed at 5'11" and 190 pounds, so he's likely more of a change-of-pace back.
The Rams located a great undrafted rookie back in Benny Cunningham last year, so don't count out Watts.
WR Austin Franklin, New Mexico State
According to Austin Franklin's personal Twitter account, he's the latest addition to the St. Louis Rams.
Frankling, out of New Mexico State, had just 670 yards and seven scored in 2013, but he had a breakout year in 2012 with 1,245 yards and nine touchdowns.
Franklin is a smaller receiver that depends on speed and superb route running. He's not the monster the Rams need on the outside, but he'll get a fair look nonetheless.
CB Marcus Roberson, Florida
According to ESPN's Nick Wagoner, the Rams added Florida Gators cornerback Marcus Roberson.
Robinson's availability is quite a surprise. CBS Sports had him ranked as a third-round prospect, and many mock drafts had him as a possible Day-2 pick.
Roberson is extremely good value for an undrafted rookie, but with Gaines, Joyner, Greg Reid and Brandon McGee already on the roster as cornerback depth, Roberson will have a tough time making the final roster.
LB Johnny Millard, Cal Poly
According to the Cal Poly football Twitter page, the Rams added linebacker Johnny Millard as a rookie free agent.
Millard, listed at 240 pounds on his school profile, racked up over 100 tackles and an interception during his senior year and was named second-team All-Conference in the Big Sky division.
It'll be tough for Millard to outplay St. Louis' backup linebackers—guys like Armstrong, Daren Bates, Sammy Brown and Phillip Steward have all flashed serious potential—but he'll get a fair shot in training camp.
LB Tavarius Wilson, North Alabama
According to the North Alabama football team's Twitter page, the Rams signed linebacker Tavarius Wilson—a former teammate of cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
Wilson is on the smaller side at 5'11" and 239 pounds, but his short height will allow him to get better leverage as a tackler.
As mentioned in the previous slide, the Rams have a lot of competition at linebacker, so it'll be difficult for Wilson to make a splash in training camp.
T Abasi Salimu, Nicholls State
According to the Rams' official website, the team added small-school tackle Abasi Salimu out of Nicholls State.
The Rams have four starting caliber tackles on the roster—Robinson, Jake Long, Joe Barksdale, Rodger Saffold—but there's room for improvement over backups Sean Hooey and Mike Person.
Salimu is a bit undersized at 290 pounds, but his smaller size may give him more versatility. If he can play both guard and tackle, he'll have a better shot at making the team.
DT Deantre Harlan, Bacone
According to the Rams website, the Rams added more defensive tackle competition with the addition of Deantre Harlan out of Bacone College in Oklahoma.
Harlan was initially recruited by Baylor as a tight end, but he made the transition to defense by the time he enrolled in Bacone and now plays on the defensive line.
Harlan has experience at multiple positions, so that versatility will help him when it comes to playing special teams. Solid special teams play is huge when it comes to unknowns attempting to make the roster.
DE Ethan Westbrooks, West Texas A&M
The Rams signed defensive end Ethan Westbrooks out of West Texas A&M, but unfortunately, making St. Louis' roster as a defensive end is more difficult than releasing a double-platinum rock album.
At 6'3" and 267 pounds, Westbrooks is a lighter defensive end, so perhaps he can play some linebacker as well in order to increase his value.