What can we conclude from Rams shocking trade of 2023 captain Ben Skowronek?

Los Angeles Rams Offseason, Les Snead
Los Angeles Rams Offseason, Les Snead / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages
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IV: The Rams love this speedy and versatile WR

The LA Rams may have a lot of new faces, but let's pause a moment and revisit Florida A&M WR Xavier Smith who returns to the roster via a Reserve/Future contract. In 2023, the Rams added Smith to their roster, and we featured him in a post-draft assessment. Smith was a long shot to make the 2023 Rams roster, but he did land on the practice squad.

Now, just check out the assessment of Xavier Smith by former NFL WR Steve Smith Sr:

The evaluation focuses on a young speedy route-running receiver who could not crack the Rams' active roster. If you want to play the same game of chess that Rams GM Les Snead loves to engage in, that leads to Xavier Smith serving as an understudy to WR Tutu Atwell in 2024.

Do the Rams have padawans to all of the Rams Jedi Knights in the receiver room? Perhaps not, but that is what this training camp to determine and develop. Xavier Smith was redshirted by the team in 2023. But with the willingness to trade Ben Skowronek, is this his year to compete for playing time?

The team had already cleared a roster spot from last year's 53-man roster with the expiration of KR/PR/WR Austin Trammell's contract. That opening created the void that Texas rookie WR Jordan Whittington will most likely fill. So who will fill Skowronek's spot? If nothing else happens, you have better than even odds of projecting Smith as the next player to step up for the team.

Of course, there is plenty of time for the front office to make additional moves. And there are other young talented receivers who may wow the coaching staff. But for now, I give Xavier Smith the inside track for 2024.