How rookie TE Davis Allen threw a monkey wrench into Rams roster strategy

Davis Allen Los Angeles Rams
Davis Allen Los Angeles Rams / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

The LA Rams wanted to hit on all of their rookies selected during the 2023 NFL Draft. I wanted to make that statement very clear. After all, the LA Rams had 14 selections during the draft, and that was not just an NFL team shooting from the hip. But practically speaking, the Rams front office entered the draft knowing that they would be quite lucky to have nailed their draft selections if half of their rookie draft class makes it past their rookie contract.

For Davia Allen's part, he was the seventh rookie selected by the Rams during the 2023 NFL Draft and was the 175th player selected. In terms of drafting for need or the best player available, I think that there is a strong case to be made for the best player available. After all, the LA Rams not only had veterans Tyler Higbee and Brycen Hopkins returning, but the Rams had already added TE Hunter Long in a trade that sent DB Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins.

But the Rams could not ignore the 6-foot-6 250-pound tight end out of Clemson University. Much like the Rams plans for a second tight end, Clemson wanted Davis Allen to primarily serve as a blocking tight end. But on those occasions when the Tigers offense needed yards and receptions from him, Allen delivered in a big way.

Did the LA Rams see something special in him? Well, they were not the only ones. His NFL Draft profile cited him as a potential NFL starter. That is a solid endorsement, particularly for a prospect who was still on the draft board mid-way through Day 3.

Davis Allen complicates Rams roster decisions

So how did he deliver? Well, his debut in the second preseason game found him catching everything thrown his way. That is, he was eight catches out of eight targets. That is one helluva way to get your coaches fired up. And it's clear that Davis Allen is not screwing around, he wants to play. But to do that, he must make the Rams roster.

And there is the rub.

It's clear that Davis Allen is far too hot right now for the Rams to attempt to slide him over to the practice squad. So if the Rams want him around, he cannot be cut. But if the plan is to carry just three tight ends on the 53-man roster, that would mean that Hunter Long is the odd man out.

The LA Rams know that both Tyler Higbee and Brycen Hopkins are in the last year of their current contracts. So it's vital that the team has some succession plan in place to ensure that they are not starting over from scratch next season. Ideally, that would have meant that Hunter Long would make the Rams roster, and Davis Allen would have been parked on the practice squad, developed fully this season, and competing for playing time next year.

But he had to go and show up in a big way in his first preseason game.

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Oh well, I suppose there are worse things to deal with than a rookie tight end already blowing away modest expectations.