Predicting St. Louis Rams' First Wave of Roster Cuts

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 3, 2015

Predicting St. Louis Rams' First Wave of Roster Cuts

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    The St. Louis Rams currently have 89 players listed on the training camp roster. According to CBS Sports, that number must be trimmed to 75 by 4 p.m. ET on September 1. 

    A team with plenty of young talent, such as the Rams, might face some difficult decisions in the near future. For now, the first wave of cuts will primarily feature undrafted rookies and some low-end veterans—players who were never expected to make the team in the first place. 

    There's still time before the Rams start trimming the fat. After a few preseason games, we might be discussing the following players in a totally different tone. 

    For now, here are the 10 players who need to be on high alert. 

Devon Wylie, WR

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    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Devon Wylie played six games with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012, including one start and six total receptions. 

    If he appeared on a final roster at one point in time, it's always possible he'll do it again, but it probably won't be with St. Louis. 

    Wylie dressed for two games with the Tennessee Titans in 2013, but other than that, he's been a complete ghost the last two seasons. If he hasn't been able to catch on anywhere else in the league, there's no reason to believe he can do so with the Rams, who have an underrated assortment of talent at the position. 

    It will not be a total shock if Wylie makes it past the first round of cuts, but it's almost impossible to forsee him ever challenging Chris Givens for the final receiver spot. 

Darrell Williams, OT

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Darrell Williams was the first undrafted rookie lineman signed by the Rams in the offseason, but it looks as though the crowded pool of competition will nudge him out the door early on. 

    As a pure tackle, Williams won't have the advantage of buying time with versatility. He's stuck in a head-on race with Greg Robinson, Rob Havenstein, Isaiah Battle, Steven Baker, Garrett Reynolds and possibly even Andrew Donnal—unless the Rams decide to stick Donnal exclusively at guard. 

    He'll struggle to get reps, which will limit his ability to turn heads. 

    Without a doubt, he's facing an uphill battle. 

Michael Palardy, P

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Like many teams, the Rams bring in extra specialists early in camp to help out with special teams drills. Unless there's an unforeseen injury, there's literally no chance these players will make the roster. 

    Last year, the Rams dropped their spare specialists in the first round of cuts, so it's almost a guarantee they'll do the same this year. 

    Michael Palardy will have to bounce around the league a while longer before he gets his shot. 

Tyler Ott, LS

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    Michael Chang/Getty Images

    Like Palardy, Tyler Ott is an extra specialist who's only around to help with drills. 

    The Rams have been quite happy with long snapper Jake McQuaide the past four seasons and even signed him to a four-year extension in 2013, per the team's official Twitter account

    This is only Ott's second NFL training camp. He's a relatively unknown commodity, so there's always a chance he'll turn some heads and earn some attention. 

    If he has a good camp, he could earn a job at some point down the line. It just won't be in 2015—at least not with the Rams. 

Matt Longacre, DE

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Matt Longacre is attempting to earn a spot on arguably the deepest and most talented defensive line in football. His odds of success are extraordinarily low. 

    His only hope is to outplay Ethan Westbrooks, which is a tall order. Westbrooks is a versatile player who stood out in the 2014 preseason and made the team as an undrafted rookie. 

    Longacre is not even the first in line behind Westbrooks. At this time, he's being outdone by seventh-round rookie defensive end Martin Ifedi and Doug Worthington. 

    According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Rams boss Jeff Fisher has praised Ifedi's play on the field during the initial days of camp. It's still early, but at this point, Ifedi seems to be the only one with a remote shot of outplaying Westbrooks. 

    As for Longacre, he has a lot of ground to cover in just a short period of time. 

Jacob Hagen, DB

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    It appears Jacob Hagen might be overwhelmed with competition at the safety position. 

    T.J. McDonald, Rodney McLeod and Mark Barron are the three primary safeties the team will feature on game day. Mo Alexander, as Fisher's personal pet project, should be a lock as well and is expected to take great strides in Year 2. 

    Hagen's only hope is as a commodity on special teams. Even then, he'll have to outdo Cody Davis, who made the final roster last year, as well as Christian Bryant, who made the 2014 practice squad. 

    It could be a short camp for the small-school prospect out of Liberty, but anything can happen. 

David Wang, C

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    David Wang is the only undrafted rookie interior linemen, but the fierce competition at center will leave him far behind. 

    Tim Barnes, Barrett Jones and Demetrius Rhaney will battle for the starting job over the next month. While that trio is nothing to boast about, Wang is still inferior to all three in talent and experience, at least for now. 

    The practice squad is always an option, but Wang will most likely be forced to try his luck with a new team in 2016. 

Zach Laskey, FB

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Fisher is an old-school coach, so it's not unreasonable to think he'll show some favoritism towards a traditional position such as fullback. As the only fullback on the roster, Zach Laskey will have a chance to prove his worth. 

    However, this isn't the first time the Rams have experimented with a fullback in camp. Kadeem Jones was the only fullback in camp last year and he was sent packing in the first wave of cuts. 

    Unless Laskey is a total playmaker on special teams, it's likely history will repeat itself. 

Montell Garner, CB

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    The Rams seem pretty set at cornerback as far as starters and depth, but there could be a potential opening for Brandon McGee's spot. 

    McGee—St. Louis' fifth-round pick in 2013—has been a total non-factor at the NFL level. Marcus Roberson filled in as McGee's injury replacement last season and demonstrated far more promise. As a result, McGee's opportunities have likely dried up.

    Montell Garner is one of the players fighting for that spot, but he'll have a difficult time outshining Roberson, as well as Mississippi State rookie Imoan Claiborne. 

Malcolm Brown, RB

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    The Rams will enter the 2015 season with an extremely talented collection of backs. Despite Todd Gurley's health status and Trey Watts' four-game suspension, per, the Rams still have their one-two punch from 2014—Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham. 

    Those four backs will make up the Rams' running game. Isaiah Pead or Chase Reynolds—maybe even both—could make the roster as special teams commodities and depth. 

    As for Malcolm Brown, he has no stellar tool that will allow him to stand out. His speed is very average and his power isn't enough to make him a bruiser at the NFL level. 

    Unless there's a wave of injuries, making the final roster appears to be an unreachable goal for Brown. 

    Steven Gerwel is the longest-tenured Rams Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and served as the Rams' game-day correspondent in 2014. You can find more of Gerwel's work by visiting his writer profile or following him on Twitter.


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