How LA Rams rookie Sam Sloman kicked CFL and XFL kickers to the curb
The LA Rams kicker competition ended Friday morning, September 4, 2020. When it was over, there was only one kicker standing. No, it was not ex-CFL kicker Lirim Hajrullahu. While he had kicked for years in the CFL and had kicked in clutch situations to win the Grey Cup, he failed to win the competition. No, it wasn’t ex-XFL kicker Austin MacGinnis. While he had kicked for a year after college, ending with the XFL, he failed to win the competition as well.
The winner was… drumroll please… the 7th round selection from the 2020 NFL Draft, the kicker from Miami of Ohio, Sam Sloman. Despite accuracy in two LA Rams scrimmage games where he finished third in a field of a three-player competition, he won the competition in the end. How?
Despite the scrimmage game jitters, Sloman was kicking the entire time. Scrimmage games were only a small portion of the overall work for each kicker. We truly didn’t see much from the kickoffs, and therefore missed a significant portion of the work by the kicker
So now that he’s won, what can we expect? Certainly, he’s a competitive player who never gives up. He’s got a pretty solid kick. And he’s playing for one of the best special team coordinators in the NFL in John Bonamego.
Special teams coordinator John Bonamego has been down this road before. In 2014, it was the Detroit Lions concerned over their rookie kicker Nate Freese’s range. Rather, they weren’t concerned at all. Last season, Detroit Lions kicker Matt Prater was the 13th ranked kicker in the NFL, a full nine places higher than LA Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein.
Bonamego will be working with Sloman, and now with the competition settled, the instruction can focus on him and him alone. When the Rams drafted Sloman, we were pretty positive on his upside. It appears that, per the Rams decision, that Sloman is leaning to the positive trend of his career trajectory.