It’s September 6th, which means the LA Rams have trimmed their roster to 53 players and assembled their 16-man practice squad. It’s bittersweet in the sense that we welcome new faces to the team, however, we say goodbye to a few as well.
At first, the Rams trimmed down to 52 players, but then immediately signed former Denver Broncos ILB/OLB Justin Hollins off of waivers. As soon as the Rams signed Hollins, they poached RB Raymond Calais Jr. from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad. Calais Jr., a seventh round pick by the Bucs was relegated to the practice squad after Tampa Bay signed Leonard Fournette.
Calais Jr. joins running backs, Malcolm Brown, Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson and Xavier Jones on the active roster. That’s a lot of running backs to keep on the 53-man roster, but Henderson is dealing with a hamstring injury and Calais Jr. can also return kicks (averaged 28.5 yards per return in college) or serve as a gunner on special teams.
Hollins was a 2019 fifth-round pick out of Oregon and spent time with Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. Staley helped convert Hollins from an outside linebacker to the inside and lobbied hard for the Rams to sign Hollins when he became available during the waiver process. Hollins is 6′ 5″, weighs 248 pounds and runs a 4.50 40. Expect Hollins to get lots of reps once he acclimates.
There were a few surprises, especially when it came to selecting a kicker. Seventh-round pick, Samuel Sloman won the job over two more-experienced kickers due to his accuracy and leg strength. Apparently, Sloman saved his best for last and impressed coaches with his booming kick-offs.
Other notable surprises were DE, Eric Banks and offensive lineman, Coleman Shelton. Banks didn’t post impressive college numbers, but has a history with Rams defensive line coach Eric Henderson who coached Banks in college. Like Banks, Shelton didn’t receive any buzz during training camp and is one of 10 offensive lineman to make the active roster. Shelton can play all five positions on the line which is why the Rams kept him.
Hard Knocks star and Rams seventh-round pick, Clay Johnston did not make the cut and chose to sign with the Caroline Panthers who employ his dad and college coach.
In terms of the practice squad, the Rams kept QB Bryce Perkins, WR JJ Koski, TE Kendall Blanton, OL Cohl Cabral and Jamil Demby, LBs Christian Rozenboom, Daniel Bituli, Natrez Patrick and Derrick Moncrief, DTs Michael Hoecht and Marquise Copeland, DBs JuJu Hughes, Tyrique McGee and Dont’e Deayon and DE Jonah Williams.
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