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ANALYSIS: Rams initial 53-man roster for 2019

The Rams reduced their roster to the 53-man limit on Saturday. Here's a position-by-position look at Los Angeles' first 53-man roster of the 2019 season.

QUARTERBACKS: Jared Goff, Blake Bortles

The Rams' quarterback room looks a bit different from last year's initial 53-man roster. Goff is now backed up by longtime friend Blake Bortles, who signed with Los Angeles during the offseason after five seasons in Jacksonville, and L.A. wound up keeping two QBs instead of three heading into the regular-season opener. Brandon Allen or John Wolford could potentially be practice squad candidates depending on what happens with their respective waiver wire processes.  

RUNNING BACKS: Todd Gurley, Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson Jr.

Los Angeles ended up keeping three running backs on its initial 53-man roster. Brown is slated to back up Gurley again this season based on the team's unofficial depth chart, while 2018 sixth-round draft choice John Kelly and third-year back Justin Davis were waived.

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods (17) runs the ball during an NFL game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday December 16th, 2018 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, Calif. (Hiro Ueno/NFL)

WIDE RECEIVERS: Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds, Mike Thomas, Nsimba Webster

The Rams' wide receivers room remains largely the same and is up there with the cornerbacks in terms of position group continuity. Like Thomas since 2016, Webster is poised to be one of Los Angeles' key special teams contributors. Webster is also one of three undrafted free agents to make the initial 53-man roster. KhaDarel Hodge was unable to crack the 53-man roster despite another strong preseason, though he could be a candidate for the team's practice squad.

TIGHT ENDS: Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett, Johnny Mundt

The same three tight ends that were on L.A.'s initial 53-man roster last year carryover to the club's 2019 roster.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Andrew Whitworth, Joe Noteboom, Brian Allen, Austin Blythe, Rob Havenstein, Jamil Demby, Bobby Evans, David Edwards

The Rams appear set to carry eight offensive linemen on their active roster heading into Week 1. While Los Angeles does not currently have a true backup center, Demby played multiple positions along the offensive line during the preseason and is capable of filling in if needed. Neary's four-game suspension does not count him toward the 53-man limit.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Michael Brockers, Aaron Donald, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Tanzel Smart, Morgan Fox, Greg Gaines

Several familiar names in this group are joined by rookie Gaines. Fox was taking snaps at outside linebacker last year prior to suffering a season-ending ACL injury during 2018 OTAs but returned to the defensive line this offseason, where he registered 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 2017, his last healthy season. Former 2018 fourth-round pick Johnathan Franklin-Myers did not make the cut after playing in all 16 games as a rookie.

Outside linebacker (56) Dante Fowler Jr. of the Los Angeles Rams faces off against the Seattle Seahawks, the Rams win 36-31 in an NFL Week 10 game, Sunday, November 11, 2018, Los Angeles, CA. (Will Navarro/Rams)

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER: Clay Matthews, Dante Fowler Jr., Samson Ebukam, Justin Lawler, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Natrez Patrick

Okoronkwo lands on the initial 53-man roster after being placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list last year. Patrick was one of three undrafted free agents to make the preliminary 53-man roster.

INSIDE LINEBACKER: Cory Littleton, Bryce Hager, Travin Howard, Troy Reeder

Los Angeles will initially carry four players at inside linebacker, including college free agent Reeder who was one of three undrafted free agents to earn a spot on the initial roster. Second-year pro Micah Kiser is on the reserve/injured list, so he does not count toward the club's 53-man limit. Dakota Allen was a surprising cut but could be a candidate for the club's practice squad.

CORNERBACK: Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Troy Hill, Darious Williams, David Long Jr.

Once again one of the deepest and most experienced positions on the Rams' roster, it was also one of the most competitive for depth spots. There was no guarantee L.A. would carry a sixth cornerback, but Darious Williams did enough to make the club do so despite strong performances from Kevin Peterson and Dominique Hatfield. Peterson and Hatfield were both waived.

Safety #43 John Johnson III of the Los Angeles Rams during the Rams 29-27 victory over the Green Bay Packers in an NFL season game eight match, on October 25, 2018, in Los Angeles, CA. (Daniel Bowyer/Rams)

SAFETY: Eric Weddle, John Johnson, Marqui Christian, Taylor Rapp, Nick Scott

Led by Weddle and Johnson, the Rams have five safeties on their initial roster. Rapp is versatile enough to play deep in coverage and up closer to the line of scrimmage, something that could potentially help offset having just three inside linebackers. A special teams standout at Penn State, Scott will likely have a role there at first.

SPECIALISTS: Greg Zuerlein (kicker), Johnny Hekker (punter), Jake McQuaide (long snapper), JoJo Natson (returner)

Most of Los Angeles' specialists from 2018 are back in 2019, as Zuerlein, Hekker, McQuaide return another season with the Rams. Primarily L.A.'s punt returner last year, JoJo Natson will have an elevated role this season also being responsible for the Rams' kickoff return duties as a result of Pharoh Cooper getting waived late last season and Cooper's backup, Blake Countess, getting waived this offseason.

*Italics = rookie

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