May 10, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams linebacker Ray Ray Armstrong (50) during rookie minicamp at Rams Park. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

Rams Bring 22 Undrafted Free Agents To Camp

Football season has finally started…well kind of. The Rams rookies came in for mini-camp on Friday which included the seven players the Rams drafted in April as well as 22 undrafted free agents that the team has signed since then. Undrafted players are more important than some might think. Scouts often miss on players and players draft stocks sometimes fall.  Arian Foster and Kurt Warner are perfect examples of this. Last season six players that came in and made the team were Austin Davis, Rodney McLeod, Johnny Hekker, Matt Conrath, and Quintin Pointer. This year’s undrafted free agents include:

WR C.J. Akins, Angelo State
LB Ray Ray Armstrong, Miami
K/P Brett Baer, Louisiana-Lafayette
LB Darren Bates, Auburn
WR Emory Blake, Auburn
OL Braden Brown, BYU
RB Benjamin Cunningham, Middle Tennessee State
S Cody Davis, Texas Tech
DT Garrett Goebel, Ohio State
LS Jorgen Hus, Regina (Canada)
DT Al Lapuaho, Utah State
TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn
DE Gerald Rivers, Ole Miss
OL Kevin Saia, Louisiana Tech
S Cannon Smith, Memphis
CB Robert Steeples, Memphis
FB Eric Stevens, Cal
LB Phillip Steward, Houston
LB Jonathan Stewart, Texas A&M
CB Drew Thomas, UTEP
DE R.J. Washington, Oklahoma
CB Darren Woodard, UTEP
One name that is intriguing that could not only make the final roster, but contribute in his first year is LB Ray Armstrong out of Miami. Ray Ray Armstrong is listed as a linebacker, but played safety for the University of Miami. Armstrong will make the switch due to gained weight. This kid could definitely surprise people and contribute on special teams. He is a low risk, high reward player which is what you look for in undrafted players. Armstrong had a good sophomore season at Miami having 79 tackles which was third on the team, had 3 interceptions, and was named all-ACC second team. From that point forward it’s been kind of downhill. Armstrong didn’t have a very good junior season and was forced to sit out his senior season due to having interactions with boosters. When all is said and done Armstrong hits hard, is fast, and has talent as he was at one point one of the top recruits in the country. He could be a great gamble for the Rams.
Another name that stands out is TE Philip Lutzenkirchen out of Auburn. It will be tough for Lutzenkirchen to make the final roster as the Rams have two good tight ends, but you never know what could happen. Lutzenkirchen is an automatic red zone threat as he stands 6’3 258lbs. He also holds the touchdowns by a tight end at Auburn with 14. He is solid in pass protection, shows great athleticism, and shows ability to win one on one battles. He needs to prove his reliability as a receiver and prove that he can stay healthy as he played injured during his  junior season and missed most of his senior season. If Lutzenkirchen can stay healthy he might just be a difference maker. Lutzenkirchen is also number seven on Gil Brandt’s list of undrafted tight ends.
Finally, one guy to keep an eye on this off season is Jonathan Stewart…no not the Carolina Panthers running back. Stewart was an inside linebacker for Texas A&M and is number three on Gil Brandt’s list of undrafted linebackers. Stewart was one of the top linebacker recruits coming out of high school and actually chose A&M over Alabama and Notre Dame. In Stewarts sophomore season he was a nice backup for the Aggies as well as a good special teams players. As a junior he made the starting line up and led the team in tackles. Stewart is another player that the Rams have added that can hit hard. Stewart is good at play recognition as well as having good straight line speed. Despite his size Stewart is a hesitant tackler, allowing runners to gain three or four yards rather than meeting them at the line of scrimmage, bottom line is he fails to consistently fit, press, and disengage to make tackles. If Stewart can improve his tackling he may just make the roster. Stewart has experience on special teams and if he makes the roster, that may just be where he ends up.
Armstrong, Latzenkirchen, and Stewart are guys to keep an eye on during camp. These guys may make the roster despite the odds. And who knows, maybe none of them make the roster and a kid that I didn’t mention surprises and becomes a superstar. If it’s one thing everybody should know in the NFL, expect anything and everything, because who knows the Rams may just have a hidden gem on their roster.
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Tags: Jonathan Stewart Philip Latzenkirchen Ray Ray Armstrong St. Louis Rams

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