The Los Angeles Rams roster is loaded after a busy offseason. Brandin Cooks, Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, and Aqib Talib were all added this offseason. If there was one downfall, they didn’t add a ton of top-tier talent in the draft after dealing away draft compensation for Cooks and the departed Sammy Watkins. The time to win in LA is now while overhyped quarterback Jared Goff remains on his rookie contract. The Rams are well coached and built to win now but are they capable of getting over the hump and becoming a real Super Bowl threat? What storylines should we watch as the Los Angeles Rams open up training camp in 2018?
3 Position Battles To Watch:
1. Pass Rusher: Matt Longacre, Samson Ebukam, Trevon Young, Obo Okoronkwo
The good news is the Rams have the best interior pass rush in the league. Aaron Donald led the NFL with 91 total pressures in just 14 games. Imagine what he can do with Ndamukong Suh next to him. The bad news is, you’re lying if you have ever heard of any of the names above. Matt Longacre and Samson Ebukam would probably have a hard time even making some rosters in the NFL. Connor Barwin was one of their better ones but even he is gone. Okoronkwo is an undersized pass rusher that may need to be counted on right away.
2. Middle Linebacker: Micah Kiser, Mark Barron, Ramik Wilson, Bryce Hager, Tegray Scales
The Rams run a 3-4 so two of these guys will have to start. Mark Barron figures to get one spot as a former failed safety. Barron has been solid as a linebacker and comes with some coverage skills for the position taking away 3 picks last year. Micah Kiser could be the starter if the rookie is ready. Kiser is a really smart player and won the academic Heisman. Kiser has good instincts but doesn’t have elite athletic traits. Ramik Wilson has some experience with the Chiefs and could start if Kiser doesn’t prove worthy.
3. Tight End: Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett
When you have a good team, there aren’t a lot of positions up for grabs. This one isn’t really a battle but the Rams need someone to improve here. Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett are both former 2017 draft picks that really didn’t do anything in year one. The preseason may foreshadow who breaks through with potential fantasy implications on the line.
Ready To Breakout: John Johnson
This Rams secondary might be the best in the league. Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters are lock down corners. Lamarcus Joyner was also hit with the franchise tag after a breakout season. The guy no one is talking about is John Johnson who was just lights out as a rookie. I first saw Johnson at the Senior Bowl a year ago when I couldn’t believe how magnificent his feet were. That translated well. Johnson rattled off an 85.9 player grade as a rookie ranking as the 15th best safety in the league. I think there’s a chance Johnson becomes a top 10 safety in the league in year-two.
Rookie To Watch: Jamil Demby
This rookie class stinks so let’s not waste too much time. Demby could be a swing tackle for this team and might be needed because Andrew Whitworth will age eventually. That’s all I have for you. You can read more on Demby in our draft content. Just search 2018 combine offensive line.
Fantasy Sleeper: Cooper Kupp
Cooper Kupp is a really good route runner and that showed as a rookie. Kupp isn’t overly fast but he gets open. Kupp caught 62 passes last year averaging 14 yards per catch. In an offensive orchestrated by Sean McVay, this offense goes deep down the field and Kupp could get more deep shots this upcoming season.