This weekend, the Rams will host over 40 first-year and tryout players for their annual rookie minicamp. The players arrived at LAX from all over the country on Thursday before heading up to the team facility at Thousand Oaks to get situated. After getting fitted for a helmet and finding their locker for the first time, therams.com caught up with a few of the rookies for their first impressions. Here are some of their best quotes.
TE GERALD EVERETT
Now that you're in L.A. and at the facility, has it started to feel like you're an NFL player? Definitely, man. It's a surreal feeling right now. The draft's over with, so just ready to get Day 1 under my belt, like I said. And just see the rest of the tight ends, and the rest of the offense, and the team as a whole. Just see how I fit in with the rest of the guys, and develop that chemistry. I see that they just finished up with Phase I, so a lot of guys aren't here right now. But it just feels good to be here.
We just saw you talking with Tyler Higbee, what does it mean to you to start getting that partnership established? It means the world, just understanding what coach McVay likes to do with the tight ends, and understanding what he did with Jordan [Reed in Washington]. I just want to see what Tyler and I can do — the combination.
WR COOPER KUPP**
How excited are you to be a Ram? I can't tell you how excited I am. I can't express it in words to just be able to play this game for a little longer. And anytime you get the opportunity to do what you love, you've got to be excited about that.
With a lot of time between the draft and minicamp, what's been going through your mind? It's just been to get here. You get drafted, you're ready to go. You end up having to wait two weeks before you can strap back up and get out on the field. So it's been nice getting settled, getting used to the area. There are great people here. I've loved the last couple weeks in this area, so I'm ready to go now.
WR JOSH REYNOLDS
From when you were drafted to now, what's been fueling you to get ready? Just getting better. It doesn't take too much to fuel me. I love football and I love the game, so that's pretty easy to get hyped up for what you love.
Having visited with the Rams in the pre-draft process, what did it mean for this team to draft you? Oh man. From my visit — after my visit, I was hoping the Rams would take me. So coach 'Yarbs' [WRs coach Eric Yarber] is a great guy. I like the energy he brings and all that. So it's going to be fun in the meting rooms.
LB SAMSON EBUKAM
How exciting is it for you to be here as a Ram? It's sort of really starting to sink in. Yes they did call my name, but just being here now, I feel like I'm ready to go. It feels good to be out here and out the house in Portland — it's Cali, man. You can't go wrong with that.
How do you feel about Wade Phillips being your defensive coordinator?** I mean, that's an OG, man. I'm kind of intimidated by him a little bit. But I'm excited about it. He knows exactly what he's talking about. Whatever he says, I'm going to soak it in and do exactly what he needs me to do, because that's what it takes to win. You've got to be able to trust your coach, and the coach has to be able to trust the athlete. So that's what I'm trying to do.
DL TANZEL SMART
What's this experience like for you, arriving for minicamp? Oh, it's a blessing. I'm just excited. They picked me to come to work, and that's all I'm about is work. And I'm just excited man, I can't explain.
What was it like to get to know DL coach Bill Johnson in the pre-draft process? It's real good. I love him. He's an excellent coach. And I'm a big D-line guy, so all the D-line coaches and all the past players I've talked to, they really love him. They've said I'm going to be excited.
FB SAM ROGERS
What was it like to put your helmet on for the first time?It's a dream come true. Like I said, it's a blessing to be here. And I'm just honored to be part of this organization and I can't wait to get to work tomorrow. So I'll be really excited.
How tough was it to wait to get started after being drafted? Yeah, it is tough. In the plane ride over here, just antsy to get things going. And then the drive over here, you hit the whole L.A. traffic — got a taste of that. But it was good, I can't wait to get going.