The LA Rams signed 22 undrafted free agents after the NFL Draft in 2019. While the road to making the roster for UDFAs is a steeper climb, the Rams may have found six hidden gems.
The LA Rams handed out 22 NFL contracts to undrafted free agents (UDFA)s in 2019. While that is slightly higher than the average 17-18 contracts, it fell right in line with the Rams plans to onboard NFL rookies. After all, the team used only eight draft picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. None of those picks occurred on day one, which meant the Rams needed quantity to uncover NFL quality players.
And did they ever! Landing even one UDFA to make a roster is a pretty superb feat. The 2019 53 man roster included six UDFAs. Perhaps the LA Rams definition for UDFA should be unexpected definitive football asset? In any case, the team offset the large number of highly paid NFL stars by these six undervalued players.
Eastern Washington WR Nsimba Webster landed as the backup to WR Cooper Kupp on the Rams posted depth chart. A 5-foot-10 181 pound speedster, Webster found his niche on special teams, both as a punt returner and kickoff returner. While only appearing in five games in 2019, you can expect his role could expand even more in 2020.
Missouri TE Kendall Blanton did not make much of an impact for the team in 2019. He showed up as playing in just one game the entire season. But he certainly casts a huge shadow. Standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 262 pounds, he is a huge target who can contribute both as a three down receiver and as a blocker.
Middle Tennessee OG/OT Chandler Brewer was not much of an impact during the 2019 season for the LA Rams either, much like TE Blanton. But unlike Blanton, Brewer was emerging from chemotherapy, and was promoted to the team’s 53 man roster in mid November. The 6-foot-6 320 pound lineman’s promotion was likely due to the wave of injuries to offensive linemen last season. But a year from chemo, and with 53-man roster experience under his belt, you can bet the team is eager to see Brewer progress this year.
Georgia LB Natrez Patrick is a comeback story of another kind. The 6-foot-3 242 pound linebacker had multiple arrests for marijuana use. If not for the intervention of coaches and teammates, his football career might have ended there. But he was forced to walk away from football completely. Now he is riding the buoyancy of a football career rebirth. So far, he’s a special teams player only, appearing in 12 games and credited with just two tackles. But his foot is already in the door, so look for a larger role this season.
Delaware LB Troy Reeder is a familiar face on the team. Undrafted, the 6-foot-3 245 pound linebacker not only cracked the 53-man roster, but the starting lineup. He played in all 16 games, and recorded 56 tackles and two forced fumbles. How did he get into the starting lineup? He took over for injured ILB Bryan Hager. He did not have a polished look or feel, but look for huge strides for Reeder’s second season.
Iowa DB Jake Gervase is the final name on the surprising six list. The 6-foot-1 212 defensive back played just two games on special teams. While the 2019 experience did not register statistics, the experience is invaluable. And with the team looking elsewhere on the roster in both free agency and the draft, Gervase will be a solid piece to the future of the defensive backfield this offseason.