Once the NFL Draft is completed as it was this past weekend, the minutia of the off-field acquisitions and hypothetical on-field impacts finally starts to turn into reality. The St. Louis Rams are set to hold rookie minicamps from May 10-12 with their 90-man limit now reached after signing 21 rookie free agents as well as an additional five players to tryout-only deals. Safety is still a position worthy of some concern after the Rams added just one via the draft. There are at least a handful of players who will likely be in a heated competition come training camp to hold down those two starting spots.
Out of the four incumbent players on the roster, only one is a viable option as a week one starter in Darian Stewart. He was brought back with a restricted free agent tender this offseason, and now entering his fourth year, Stewart should have a handle on what it takes to perform week to week in the NFL. The other three listed on the depth chart were all undrafted free agents a year ago in Quinton Pointer, Rodney McLeod, and Matthew Daniels.
That brings us to the current crop of rookies where the Rams are bringing in plenty of competition. T.J. McDonald was the team’s first of two third round picks and brings a real hard-hitting attitude to the secondary. He will likely be given every opportunity to earn a starting role as a rookie.
Perhaps the potential seen in the undrafted group is considered even more impressive. Cody Davis wowed scouts with his pro day performance at 6’2” 203 lbs. by running the 40-yard dash in 4.42 and 4.41 seconds, scoring an explosive 41.5-inch vertical and 10-foot-3 broad jump, timing a short shuttle of 4.00 seconds, a 6.78-second time in the three-cone drill, and hoisting 15 reps on the bench press. All of those numbers hint at some serious potential.
The other potential roster buster is Ray-Ray Armstrong who showed incredible talent in his sophomore year at Miami (Fl) in 2010, but was suspended for the first four games in 2011 for accepting improper benefits. He was then suspended again later in the year for tweeting about a dinner date with a PR firm and 2012 saw him completely dismissed from the Hurricanes’ program due to the ongoing NCAA investigation. He was denied eligibility when he transferred to NAIA school Faulkner University this past season. At 6’3” 216lbs., the Rams are getting quite a sizable safety that ran rather pedestrian 4.69 and 4.72 40-yard dash times at the Miami pro day. If the Armstrong can rekindle his form from 2010 with the Rams he could make a strong push for a roster spot during training camp.
While the safety position isn’t exactly an area of strength at this point, there is plenty of potential coming to the roster this offseason. The position is actually a microcosm of the Rams’ entire roster with tons of upside yet still some reservation with just how unproven that talent actually is. 2013 looks to be a year for the Rams to finally prove that they are back to relevance as a true playoff contender.