What roles can 10 remaining UDFAs fill with LA Rams in 2021?

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams roster
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams added 22 players after the 2020 NFL Draft. Because they are rookies who did not hear their names called from the podium during the draft, they are referred to as undrafted free agents, or UDFAs, for short. And those players, although they may not have shown up as productive players in the 2020 box stats, are most certainly part of the Rams’ long-term plans.

Rams roster strategy is far more future-looking than many truly appreciate. When teams sit down to sign players after the NFL draft concludes, teams have free access to any and all players who the scouting department believes can play a role for the team into the future.

Sometimes that role is immediate and specific. A fast skill-player for a spot returning kickoffs or punts on special teams. Perhaps it’s a dual-threat quarterback who can run the practice squad during the season’s practices.  But for the most part, a player signed after the NFL Draft has the qualities and characteristics of a draftable player who simply ran out of slots.

The trouble with 2020 was the absence of OTAs, the restrictions imposed on training camps, the limited access to scrimmage games. In the past, the reports of young players developing and showing up big in practice would be the stuff that builds excitement and enthusiasm to see them play in the regular season.  Of course, that didn’t happen. And the time to get ready for the 2020 NFL season was so limited that even the coaching staff had limited time to observe player progression.

Must Read. LA Rams News: 22 UDFA complete analysis post-2020 NFL Draft. light

Now the team has had a full season of prolonged work with these players, and their roles in 2021 will reflect that time and familiarity. Ten players who were not drafted, and yet who still factor into the team’s plans the following year should be applauded for such an uphill effort of even that level of success. So let’s revisit the 10 survivors, and see if any have even larger roles to play this year?