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Breaking Down St. Louis Rams Roster After the 2014 Draft

Steven GerwelContributor IIINovember 15, 2016

Breaking Down St. Louis Rams Roster After the 2014 Draft

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    The St. Louis Rams had an extremely successful draft by anyone's standard. They addressed numerous needs, and the result is a better football team. 

    The defense received some much-needed help in the secondary, while the offense got a major boost in the run game. 

    The next step is putting the players on the practice field, allowing the competitions to play out and banking the results. 

    There's still some work to do as far as molding the roster, but this article will cover the team's current roster for training camp.

Quarterback

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Depth

     

    Sam Bradford and Shaun Hill are locked in as the team's No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks, respectively. The only battle at this position will be for the No. 3 job. 

    Third-year pro Austin Davis has had some flashes in the preseason, but the Rams used a sixth-round selection on Garrett Gilbert to provide some competition. 

    There's not much going on at this position, but keep an eye on that battle for the No. 3 job.

Running Back

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Depth

    • Zac Stacy
    • Tre Mason
    • Benny Cunningham
    • Daryl Richardson
    • Isaiah Pead
    • Chase Reynolds
    • Trey Watts
    • Kadeem Jones (Fullback)

     

    Zac Stacy cemented his status as the starter during his rookie season. He amassed over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and was the highlight of St. Louis' offense. 

    However, St. Louis is clearly moving toward a back-by-committee approach. The selection of Auburn's Tre Mason in the third round, combined with incumbents Stacy and Benny Cunningham, will give the Rams a three-headed monster in the backfield. 

    Daryl Richardson and former second-round pick Isaiah Pead both have a shot at seeing action on offense, but it will be an uphill battle for both players.

Wide Receiver

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Depth

    • Chris Givens
    • Kenny Britt
    • Tavon Austin
    • Austin Pettis
    • Brian Quick
    • Stedman Bailey
    • Justin Veltung 
    • T.J. Moe
    • Emory Blake
    • Jamain Sherman
    • Austin Franklin

     

    This is one position where the Rams failed to find reinforcements. Many thought Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins was a real possibility for St. Louis' No. 2 overall pick, but the Rams passed. 

    The team added Kenny Britt—an extremely talented underachiever—in free agency, but he's too much of a question mark to be counted on. 

    Luckily, the Rams have a number of young, talented players at this position—Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Stedman Bailey, Brian Quick—so it's very possible that one or more of those players will have a breakout year.

Tight End

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Depth

    • Jared Cook
    • Lance Kendricks
    • Cory Harkey
    • Alex Bayer
    • Justice Cunningham

     

    The Rams have two reliable pass-catchers in Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks, along with a promising up-and-comer in Cory Harkey. 

    The Rams could use another run-blocker at the position, but for the most part, the tight ends are set in stone. 

    Alex Bayer is a promising tight end out of Bowling Green. The undrafted rookie had nearly 600 yards and four touchdowns in his final college season, so he's a player to watch.

Offensive Line

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    Craig Ruttle/Associated Press

    Depth

    • Jake Long (Tackle)
    • Joe Barksdale (Tackle)
    • Greg Robinson (Tackle, Guard)
    • Rodger Saffold (Tackle, Guard)
    • Scott Wells (Center)
    • Tim Barnes (Center)
    • Barrett Jones (Tackle, Guard, Center)
    • Brandon Washington (Guard)
    • Sean Hooey (Tackle)
    • Mike Person (Tackle)
    • Mitchell Van Dyk (Tackle)
    • Graham Pocic (Tackle)
    • Emmanuel McCray (Tackle)
    • Demetrius Rhaney (Center)
    • Abasi Salimu (Tackle)

     

    If there were any doubts about the Rams' starting offensive line a month ago, those concerns have certainly subsided thanks to the draft. 

    The addition of Greg Robinson at No. 2 overall—who will likely start at left guard—gives St. Louis a fierce starting line where the weak link is, believe it or not, former Pro Bowl center Scott Wells. 

    The team also grabbed tackle Mitchell Van Dyk and center Demetrius Rhaney in the seventh round, and those two pickups will improve the overall depth.

Defensive Line

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    Associated Press

    Depth

    • Robert Quinn (Defensive End)
    • Chris Long (Defensive End)
    • Michael Brockers (Defensive Tackle)
    • Aaron Donald (Defensive Tackle, Defensive End)
    • William Hayes (Defensive End, Defensive Tackle)
    • Kendall Langford (Defensive Tackle)
    • Eugene Sims (Defensive End)
    • Alex Carrington (Defensive End, Defensive Tackle)
    • Jermelle Cudjo (Defensive Tackle)
    • Michael Sam (Defensive End, Linebacker)
    • Matt  Conrath (Defensive Tackle)
    • Mason Brodine (Defensive End)
    • Ethan Westbrooks (Defensive End)
    • Deantre Harlan (Defensive Tackle)

     

    Here we have the crown jewel of the St. Louis roster. The Rams have the best 4-3 defensive line in football, and frankly, it's not even remotely close. 

    St. Louis' backup linemen—Kendall Langford, William Hayes, Eugene Sims—could start for a number of NFL teams. 

    With Robert Quinn and Chris Long on the edges, along with the monstrous Michael Brockers and newcomer Aaron Donald in the middle, the Fearsome Foursome has officially made a comeback.

Linebacker

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Depth

    • James Laurinaitis (Inside)
    • Alec Ogletree (Outside, Inside)
    • Jo-Lonn Dunbar (Outside)
    • Ray Ray Armstrong (Outside)
    • Daren Bates (Outside)
    • Sammy Brown (Outside)
    • Etienne Sabino (Outside)
    • Phillip Steward (Outside)
    • Michael Sam (Outside)
    • Caleb McSurdy (Outside)
    • Aaron Hill (Outside)
    • Tavarius Wilson (Outside)
    • Johnny Millard (Outside)

     

    The linebacker unit lives in the shadow of the defensive line, but this group certainly has a lot to offer as well. 

    James Laurinaitis is the quarterback of the defense and is the leader of the group. Second-year pro Alec Ogletree is the most talented—he's the group's playmaker and game-changer. 

    And, of course, the enforcers of the group are Jo-Lonn Dunbar and Ray Ray Armstrong. Both players play the game with an edge and help spark the defense's hard-nosed attitude.

Cornerback

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Depth

    • Janoris Jenkins
    • Trumaine Johnson
    • Lamarcus Joyner
    • Greg Reid
    • Brandon McGee
    • E.J. Gaines
    • Marcus Roberson
    • Darren Woodward
    • Jarrid Bryant

     

    Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson are returning as the starters in 2014, but the depth behind them was dangerously thin entering the offseason. 

    Luckily, the Rams added playmaker Lamarcus Joyner in the second round, and he'll replace Cortland Finnegan as the slot corner. 

    Greg Reid—Joyner's teammate at Florida State—is an underrated free-agency pickup and should make the roster as well. 

    Rookie E.J. Gaines was a steal as a sixth-round draft pick. He was a reliable corner in the SEC last season and will contribute in Year 1.

Safety

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    Tom Gannam/Associated Press

    Depth

    • T.J. McDonald
    • Rodney McLeod
    • Lamarcus Joyner
    • Mo Alexander
    • Cody Davis
    • Matt Daniels
    • Christian Bryant
    • Avery Cunningham

     

    This group is likely the weak point of the defense. Starters T.J. McDonald and Rodney McLeod are both returning in 2014, but McLeod was a disappointment last season.  

    McLeod joined the team in 2012 as an undrafted rookie, so it's possible his play will improve as he gains experience. 

    If not, the team will rely on fourth-round pick Mo Alexander. Alexander is a hard hitter and should fit in well with the defense. 

    If things get out of control, don't be surprised if Joyner gets playing time up top, as he has experience at safety as well as cornerback.

Special Teams

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    L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

    Depth

    • Greg Zuerlein (Kicker)
    • Johnny Hekker (Punter)
    • Jake McQuaide (Long Snapper)

     

    Kicker Greg Zuerlein, entering his third year, has already established himself as one of the better kickers in the league. The same can be said for Pro Bowl punter Johnny Hekker. 

    The specialists of this team are perfectly dependable and will be an asset in 2014.

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