NFL Network projects LA Rams’ starting lineup

With the 2024 NFL Draft and most of free agency in the rearview, NFL Network’s Gregg Rosenthal projected starting lineups for all 32 teams across the league. He released his preview of the NFC West teams Thursday afternoon. 

Here’s who Rosenthal had projected for the Los Angeles Rams:

QB Matthew Stafford EDGE Jared Verse
RB  Kyren Williams DE Braden Fiske
WR Puka Nacua DT Kobie Turner
WR Cooper Kupp DT Bobby Brown III
WR Demarcus Robinson EDGE Byron Young
TE Tyler Higbee LB Ernest Jones IV
LT Alaric Jackson CB Darious Williams
LG Jonah Jackson CB Tre’Davious White
C Steve Avila CB Cobie Durant
RG Kevin Dotson S Kam Curl
RT Rob Havenstein S Quentin Lake

There aren’t too many surprises when it comes to the Rams’ roster, and Rosenthal did a good job projecting it. His comments underneath:

  • Matthew Stafford’s contract situation is worth monitoring. I’d also keep an eye on second-year pro Stetson Bennett, who could be the backup quarterback early in the season while Jimmy Garoppolo is serving a two-game suspension. Bennett was not with the team most of last year, with Rams GM Les Snead recently explaining in an exclusive interview with an Alabama news station that the 2023 fourth-round pick was “an exhausted human being” who needed time away from the game.
  • Kyren Williams’ lingering foot injury helps to inform the drafting of Michigan star Blake Corum in the third round. They will probably share the workload evenly regardless.
  • It’s bizarre to list a fifth-round pick from last year ahead of Cooper Kupp, but Puka Nacua showed he’s the top option until proven otherwise. When Kupp was on the field last year, he was not the same player we’d grown accustomed to.
  • Demarcus Robinson and Tutu Atwell will share the third receiver role, but Robinson was the guy getting the big snaps and targets late last season.
  • The Rams spent big money to fortify their interior O-line by signing Jonah Jackson and retaining Kevin Dotson, who was a smart trade pickup last August. Steve Avila was awesome at guard as a rookie and now will switch to center. Joe Noteboom is still around as the most expensive swing tackle in football. This offensive line is built to mash.
  • Second-year pro Byron Young and first-round rookie Jared Verse complement each other well. Young is all speed around the edge, while Verse should be a great run-stopper from Day 1.
  • The defensive line will rotate plenty, but Kobie Turner is tough to take off the field. He was a revelation as a rookie — and is now the Rams’ best hope to mitigate the enormous loss of Aaron Donald.
  • Christian Rozeboom is likely to be the second linebacker. Ernest Jones IV has settled in as a core piece for this defense, which is now under new coordinator Chris Shula.
  • The Rams have a lot of flexibility in the secondary. Tre’Davious White could play the nickel “star” position if the team moves Cobie Durant to the starting lineup. Russ Yeast is another nickel option. Third-round pick Kamren Kinchens is a candidate to play deep safety. White was a boom-or-bust signing, but there are other options if he can’t stay healthy.
  • The Rams have every reason to believe they will have a top-flight offense. The defense is more talented overall, but it also lost Donald and coordinator Raheem Morris. Add it all up, and this team can compete to win playoff games again.

Robinson is a better football player than TuTu Atwell and has been able to stay on the field, so his being the WR3 feels pretty reasonable. Technically, Higbee won’t open up as a starter and the tight end job would go to Colby Parkinson, but that is nitpicky. 

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I’m not convinced Fiske can play on the Rams’ base front, but they might not have a choice given their depth there. I’d also put Lake over Durant, given that Lake ended last season as the primary nickel, and replace him with Kamren Kinchens, who might be a rookie but is an instinctive playmaker. 

Out of the current Rams’ CB room, I would project Darious Williams for the STAR role over Tre’Davious White, but I am not certain that new DC Chris Shula will implement that role this season. 

Overall, I think Rosenthal did a pretty good job projecting the group. I don’t agree with a couple of his comments/positions, but they match up with what I projected right after the draft. This is a roster that can make a playoff push if they can stay healthy. 

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