The LA Rams try to find and stockpile young talent on their practice squad. But more and more frequently, other NFL teams have learned to shop for roster reinforcements from the Rams practice squad. The latest team to do so is the Kansas City Chiefs, whose head coach Andy Reid appears to have broken the news today of the team signing OLB Benton Whitley to their active roster from the Rams practice squad.
That news is a bit disappointing, particularly in light of the fact that the team had just added DE/OLB Zach VanValkenburg to the team’s practice squad. With the aggregate effect of the two roster transactions, the LA Rams are no further ahead on their pass rush and may have eroded their ability to reinforce their roster by losing a player who was quite familiar with the Rams’ coaching staff and defensive scheme.
Whitley was a raw but highly regarded edge rusher prospect from Holy Cross, a 6-foot-3 251-pound DE/OLB player who was a small college prospect with significant NFL potential. In three preseason appearances, Whitley was unable to record a quarterback sack, but he did record seven tackles.
The loss of Whitley was poorly timed for the Rams roster, which is trying to scavenge the NFL Waiver Wire, NFL practice squads, and the remaining players among the NFL Free Agency market to bring the roster back to full strength. While Whitley may not have been an imminent player to be signed to the Rams’ 53-man roster, he may have been one considered to be activated temporarily to the active roster for the Rams’ Week 3 contest against the Arizona Cardinals.
As we had pointed out in a previous article, the LA Rams pass rush has become more of a rotational effort, as veteran OLB Leonard Floyd has been fighting through a knee that mysteriously buckled without reason during practice one week ago. As a result, no outside linebacker on the Rams roster has played more than 78 percent of the defensive snaps so far this season.
With the loss of Benton Whitley, the LA Rams endured a second day of numerous roster transactions, some initiated by the team’s front office, while others, like this one, were moves that impacted the Rams’ roster.
Stay tuned while we address each move in a series of articles.