The LA Rams added 9 new rookies at the 2020 NFL Draft. What is the floor/ceiling of new rookie kicker Sam Sloman?
With the 248th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the LA Rams selected Sam Sloman, Kicker, out of Miami of Ohio. By looking at his statistics we can project to see what he can become. First, let’s look at his basic attributes. Then looking at we know we can use it to project a comp for both their floor and ceiling.
Sloman is the third kicker added to the LA Rams’ roster, and the only rookie signed to the team from college. Despite adding two non-NFL kickers prior to the draft, the plan all along seemed to be adding a college kicker as well. As soon as his name was called, the Rams immediately set a three-way heated competition for the one kicker spot vacated by former veteran kicker Greg Zuerlein. Newly hired Special Teams coordinator John Bonamego’s influence surely played a part in this competition, as he most likely wants to have an option to go with the kicker who has the best accuracy, the longest range, and the most consistent number of touchbacks at kickoff. Bonamego must have liked what he saw in Sloman.
-Accurate in short to mid-range kicks
-Under average leg strength
-Struggles in kickoffs in bounds
-Keeps improving every year
-Makes extra points on a consistent basis
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What stood out to me about Sloman was the fact that he was such a high percentage kicker with a limited range like a Stephen Gostowski. Gostowski has one kick made over 60 yards. Only 14.96 percent of his kicks that he made were longer than 50 yards while 66.84 of kicks made were in the 20-39 yard range. That’s a lot of kicks for the short to medium range. Comparing them to Sloman’s senior year stats, Sloman made 19.23 percent of his kicks made at 50+ yards, his highest being 53. He also made 57.96 percent of his kicks from 20-39 yards out. While their average for 20-39 yards is a bit off, I’m only comparing his senior season to Gostowski’s entire career.
Floor-No Roster Spot
While I would like to compare a floor and a ceiling to a player, Sloman’s floor ends up in just one place, simply not making the roster is a real possibility. The LA Rams signed two kickers in Lirim Hajrullahu and Austin MacGinnis this offseason and there is no guarantee that Sloman will win in any competition to land a roster spot. The lack of leg strength could be an issue as the Rams were expecting 60+ yard kicks on a consistent basis before the departure of kicker Greg Zuerlein. And the fact that Zuerlein fell below .500 at the 40-49 yard range was something the team stated as a goal this offseason.
If, and I mean if, Sam Sloman cracks the roster and beats out one of the most clutch kickers in CFL history in Hajrullahu, he should be a tier or two under Gostowski. He will make a good percentage of his kicks every year and be reliable up to a point. That is, he won’t be placed into situations requiring significant his leg strength. His range will likely restrict the Rams to field goal attempts of under 60 yards. However, Sloman did demonstrate a significant improvement in his range during his senior year and may develop that long-range kick under Bonamego’s watchful eye.
As always let me know in the comments section your thoughts about the likelihood of Sloman making the Rams 55-man roster. New ST coordinator John Bonamego, despite having two solid kickers on the roster, persuaded the Rams to select 5-foot-8 205-pound Miami of Ohio kicker Sam Sloman in the seventh round. Does he know something we don’t? That’s likely the case. But Sam Sloman has a very uphill battle ahead of him to make the Rams’ roster.