A quick double-take on the initial LA Rams roster and likely depth chart

Sean McVay Los Angeles Rams
Sean McVay Los Angeles Rams / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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LA Rams News Rams roster Rams depth chart Aaron Donald,Ernest Jones
Los Angeles Rams Aaron Donald,Ernest Jones / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Defensive depth (25 - Less 1 to IR)

The Rams' defense is going to be pushed to the limits this season. Even with the return of All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the grossly underestimated inside linebacker Ernest Jones, and the safety duo of Jordan Fuller and John Johnson III, the Rams defense will struggle at times.

Much like rookie kickers, even the most glorified rookie edge rushers take a lot of time in their first year of playing in the NFL before things begin to click into place. And with the Rams sudden adversity to any pass rusher from the past obliterating any continuity at the position, the Rams number of quarterback sacks this season will likely bounce among the worst in the NFL.

  1. Linebacker (3) - Ernest Jones, Christian Rozeboom, Jake Hummel
  2. Edge Rushers (5) - Michael Hoecht, Byron Young, Nick Hampton, Ochaun Mathis, Zach VanValkenburg (Ochaun Mathis will be assigned to IR)
  3. Defensive linemen (7) - Aaron Donald, Bobby Brown III, Kobie Turner, Larrell Murchison, Jonah Williams, Earnest Brown IV, Desjuan Johnson
  4. Defensive backs (10) - Jordan Fuller, Quentin Lake, Cobie Durant, Derion Kendrick, Russ Yeast, John Johnson III, Tre Tomlinson, Shaun Jolly, Jason Taylor II, Ahkello Witherspoon

And so, let's share some quick and dirty analysis.

Does Rams DC Raheem Morris hate his former OLBs?

Have you noticed that the LA Rams released every player who got a quarterback sack in preseason games? And with the released players today, the LA Rams have parted ways with each and every pass rusher who was a member of the outside linebacker room that began the 2022 NFL season. Isn't that odd? While Michael Hoecht was on the 2022 Rams roster, he began the season as a defensive tackle. He did not cross-train as an outside linebacker until mid-way through last year. So too the Rams did not add Zach VanValkenburg until mid-way through the season.

I find that both extremely odd and somewhat more than mere coincidence.

While the LA Rams secondary will still face some challenges, the insertion of veteran cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon and safety John Johnson III has bolstered my optimism for the Rams secondary. While All-Pro defensive back Jalen Ramsey is no longer a member of the group, that will force all of the defensive backs to play more cohesively and collectively.

Still, I cannot shake the concerns over the Rams defensive front. As long as opposing offenses simply plan to bootleg pass plays and aim their running lanes away from Aaron Donald, the Rams defense could be pushed around.

Hot. Rams practice squad tracker. LA Rams Practice Squad Tracker: Effective August 30, 2023. dark

Yet, at the end of the day, here is some very good news: I believe that the Rams 53-man roster is far more competitive to all other NFL teams 53-man rosters, than the Rams preseason teams were to other NFL preseason teams. In simpler terms, by cutting the roster down to their best 53 players, the LA Rams closed the gap significantly with all other NFL teams.