Unlike years past, the St. Louis Rams will not have to do much “hashing out” of the depth chart this offseason. For the most part, the starting lineups have been solidified, with only a handful of “questionable” spots up for grabs. So, with OTAs nearly over, what have we learned about the roster, and who will be filling those spots?
With the one-game suspension to Rokevious Watkins, it appears as though Chris Williams is the new front-runner for the start job at left guard. Even if Watkins had not received the penalty, the St. Louis Rams just signed Williams to a 1 year/$1.3M contract, which is about double the amount that Watkins will make in 2013. So far in offseason workouts, Williams has taken a bulk of the first-team reps, which likely puts him at the front of the pack on the depth chart.
Both Lance Kendricks and Jared Cook will see significant reps on the field in 2013, whether that be as an in-line blocker, off-line receiver, in the backfield, or split out wide. However, there has been nothing but unbridled excitement about Cook in camp thus far this offseason, especially from Sam Bradford. After the release of Brit Miller in the latter half of the 2012 season, Lance Kendricks was moved to the “starting” fullback on the roster. With technicalities in mind, both Kendricks and Cook could see their names on the starting roster in Week 1; one as the fullback and one as the tight end.
If there was any spot with a question mark, it has to be who will be catching the passes from Sam Bradford? The most “buzz” at Rams Camp has circulated around three receivers: Chris Givens, Brian Quick, and Tavon Austin. Naturally, those are the three names that are most likely to get brought up at a presser, but that does not mean that those three haven’t stood out in the offseason workouts. Jeff Fisher and Sam Bradford have specifically mentioned both Givens and Austin on numerous occasions, pointing mostly to their versatility in the offense and the work ethic that they have displayed so far this offseason. Scouts and pundits have all been raving over Brian Quick, with some flagging the sophomore as a potential “breakout” player in 2013. With nothing to suggest either Stedman Bailey or Austin Pettis have pushed their way into more first-team reps lineup, it is a “safe” bet that these three will be getting the lions’ share of snaps come Week 1.
Like the Rok Watkins’ situation, the one-game suspension to Isaiah Pead has likely cleared some of the smoke from the battle for the starting running back spot. When ask, Jeff Fisher explicitly stated that the suspension would not “complicate” his evaluation of the players. On one hand, that could mean that he will remove the suspension completely from the equation when determining the starter. On the other hand, it could mean that Fisher already has some type of hierarchy in place on the running back depth chart. Either way, all signs point to Daryl Richardson as the starter in Week 1, likely rotating with Zac Stacy and, potentially, Tavon Austin in the backfield. Richardson was already the front-runner for the job in a lot of people’s minds, myself included, and the suspension only helped to solidify that stance. It could also open up the door for a player like Terrance Ganaway to see some meaningful snaps in the season opener.