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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Cameron DaSilva

Who are locks to make the Rams’ 53-man roster this year?

The Rams are a few weeks away from the start of training camp, so it’s difficult to predict who will make the 53-man roster come September. There’s so much competition on this team right now, and so many young players trying to prove themselves, that there are sure to be some surprises when final cuts are made.

But leading into camp, we can confidently say these 25 players are locks to make the team. They’re all going to contribute in one way or another this season, many of whom are expected to be starters.

Here’s a look at the Rams’ 53-man roster locks before camp.

Quarterback: 2

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Matthew Stafford
Stetson Bennett

There are a couple of ways the quarterback room could shake out. If Bennett progresses quickly and the Rams are confident in him as their backup to Stafford, they should only keep two quarterbacks. If he struggles this summer and in the preseason, the Rams could opt to keep Brett Rypien on the 53-man roster as the third quarterback, giving them some insurance at an all-important position.

Regardless, Stafford and Bennett are the only two locks at quarterback. It just comes down to whether the Rams keep two or three.

Running back: 2

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Cam Akers
Kyren Williams

I would love to say Zach Evans is a roster lock but I can’t get there yet. As promising and exciting as he is, he was a sixth-round pick. We can’t forget that. Akers is most likely going to be the starter and Williams is a player Sean McVay loves. He’s spoken highly of both players already this offseason, but Williams likely would’ve had a bigger role last season had he not gotten hurt twice.

Sony Michel, even the proven veteran that he is, isn’t a lock. He’ll help in camp and bring some veteran leadership to the running back room, but it’s very possible he’ll be cut before the season even begins.

Wide receiver: 5

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Cooper Kupp
Van Jefferson
Ben Skowronek
Puka Nacua
Tutu Atwell

The Rams don’t yet know who their No. 3 receiver will be, but they have some options. Kupp and Jefferson are going to be the starters, with Skowronek, Nacua and Atwell all likely splitting time as the No. 3, depending on the situation in the game. I can’t imagine the Rams cutting any of them, even with Skowronek being limited as a receiver and Atwell failing to put up impressive numbers; he’s a former second-round pick, after all.

Demarcus Robinson, Tyler Johnson and Lance McCutcheon will compete for snaps, too, but they don’t have the draft pedigree of Nacua and Atwell or the experience in the Rams’ system that Skowronek has. Thus, they aren’t locks yet.

Tight end: 1

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Higbee

As easy as the tight end group is to project right now, Higbee is the only lock. Hunter Long will have to prove himself after coming over in the trade involving Jalen Ramsey. Brycen Hopkins is in the final year of his rookie deal and still has yet to emerge as a reliable No. 2 tight end. And rookie Davis Allen should make the team, but he was a fifth-round pick so he’s not guaranteed a roster spot; Los Angeles cut Earnest Brown IV as a fifth-round rookie in 2021.

I expect all four of them to make the team, but it’s too early to definitively say they’re all locks. Training camp will help sort out the depth chart and competition at tight end.

Offensive tackle: 3

(AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Rob Havenstein
Joe Noteboom

Alaric Jackson

Warren McClendon Jr. has a great chance to make the team as a fifth-round rookie, the Rams’ fifth pick in the 2023 draft. But with all the depth the Rams have on the offensive line, there will be a lot of competition across the board. The same goes for A.J. Arcuri, a seventh-round pick in the 2022 draft.

Noteboom and Jackson are going to make the team and it’s possible both will be starters along the offensive line. Both will compete at left tackle, and whoever loses that battle will get a chance to earn reps at guard, too. At right tackle, it will obviously be Havenstein starting once again.

Guard: 2

(AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Steve Avila
Logan Bruss

Tremayne Anchrum Jr. is close to being a lock, but he’s not there yet. If he stands out in camp, he could end up being a starting guard along with either Avila or Bruss. Avila already got first-team reps in OTAs and minicamp and will only get better as the competition heats up, while Bruss is trying to return from a torn ACL suffered last summer that caused him to miss his rookie season.

Other than that, there isn’t a lock to make the team at guard.

Center: 2

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Allen
Coleman Shelton

One of these two players will be the starting center. If it’s Allen, Shelton will back him up and also battle for reps at guard. If it’s Shelton, Allen will be the backup. It’s hard to imagine the Rams cutting Allen, seeing as they will get no salary cap relief for such a move.

Avila could be the wild card at center if the Rams want to get a little creative, but he’s a better fit at guard. Mike McAllister is also a name to watch, earning praise from McVay this spring as an undrafted rookie.

Defensive line: 3

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Aaron Donald
Marquise Copeland
Kobie Turner

The Rams gave Copeland a one-year deal this offseason, an indication that they didn’t want to let him get away in free agency. He’s going to make the team and likely be the starting defensive end in place of A’Shawn Robinson. Turner was a third-round pick so he’s not going to get cut, and he should be the immediate backup to Donald at defensive tackle.

Bobby Brown III should be a lock, seeing as he’s the only true nose tackle on the team, but he hasn’t proved anything yet in the NFL so he’ll need to show he deserves to be a starter in the middle of the line.

Outside linebacker: 1

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Byron Young

No Michael Hoecht? There’s about a 95% chance he’s going to make the team and will probably be one of the starting edge rushers. However, he doesn’t have a contract that prevents him from being cut and while he looked good at the end of last season, there’s no guarantee he’ll play that way again in camp and the preseason.

Daniel Hardy, Keir Thomas, Nick Hampton and Ochaun Mathis will be the other edge rushers competing for snaps alongside Hoecht and Young, a third-round rookie who could have an immediate impact.

Inside linebacker: 1

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Ernest Jones

No surprise here. Jones is a major part of the Rams’ young defense in 2023 and will play just about every snap as the defensive signal caller. Christian Rozeboom will probably be the No. 2, but after that, there’s no telling who will make the team in 2023. It could be Jake Hummel, DeAndre Square, Ryan Smenda Jr. or any of the other undrafted rookies battling for a roster spot.

Cornerback: 2

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cobie Durant
Derion Kendrick

Durant and Kendrick have both impressed the coaching staff already this year as they enter their second seasons in the NFL. Ahkello Witherspoon, Robert Rochell and Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson should be the other cornerbacks to round out the secondary, but none of the three is locked into a roster spot yet.

Shaun Jolly and Vincent Gray are players to watch at this position. if the Rams keep six cornerbacks, one of the two should be able to make the team over the undrafted rookies on the offseason roster right now.

Safety: 1

(AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Jordan Fuller

Fuller will be thrust back into a starting role after missing most of last season with a hamstring injury. The question is who will start next to him. Russ Yeast seems to be the favorite, along with fellow second-year pro Quentin Lake. However, as likely as it is that both will make the team, we can’t call them locks just yet.

Jason Taylor II is an exciting seventh-round rookie to watch because he can play deep, something the Rams could use in their defensive scheme. They don’t necessarily need another box safety, so Taylor is an intriguing player.

Special teams: 0

(AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Right now, the Rams have three specialists on their roster: Ethan Evans, Tanner Brown and Alex Ward. All of them are rookies, and only Evans was drafted (seventh round). Since there’s no competition for any of them right now, it’s easy to view them as locks. However, the Rams are just three moves away from bringing in veterans to replace the veterans if they falter in camp and the preseason.

But most likely, we’re looking at the Rams’ three specialists for 2023 already.

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