7 takeaways from Rams’ first depth chart: Fuller a backup, Lewis buried and Shelton over Bruss

·4 min read

The Rams’ first unofficial depth chart is here now that training camp has been wrapped up and just ahead of the team’s first preseason game. It’s not an official listing from the coaching staff, but there’s still plenty of value that comes from these media-created depth charts.

Here are seven key takeaways and reactions to the depth chart, which certainly has some surprises – both on offense and defense.

Ben Skowronek has a lead on Tutu Atwell…for now

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Van Jefferson is still on the active roster, but the Rams didn’t list him on the depth chart because he’s recovering from a knee injury. In his place, Skowronek is one of the three starting receivers alongside Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson.

That leaves Atwell as a backup, but maybe only temporarily. Atwell has certainly made more plays in training camp and has really stood out with his speed and hands, so don’t be surprised if he gets more chances than Skowronek this season.

Kendall Blanton in line to back up Tyler Higbee

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

The Rams used both Blanton and Brycen Hopkins to fill in for Tyler Higbee when he was out last season, and both will be on the 53-man roster this year. But right now, it’s Blanton who’s listed as TE2 over Hopkins.

That could obviously change, but Blanton might be the more complete tight end at the moment – though both he and Hopkins struggled as blockers last season. Expect Blanton and Hopkins to both get opportunities throughout the year when the Rams go with two-TE sets.

Coleman Shelton pulling ahead of Logan Bruss

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Sean McVay recently said that Shelton has been “separating himself” in the battle at right guard, and the depth chart reflects that. He’s listed as the starter at right guard, with Bruss being his immediate backup. Based on this depth chart, Jack Snyder is the other player competing at right guard, though Tremayne Anchrum Jr. could also handle that position.

It’s interesting that Bobby Evans was not listed on the depth chart, which could just be an oversight.

Cam Akers still favored over Darrell Henderson Jr.

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

This isn’t really surprising, but it does match what everyone believes will be the cast: Akers is the starter and Henderson is the backup. McVay said he wants to use both players and have them both healthy for the duration of the season, so they’ll use each running back to keep the other fresh.

Akers is a better inside runner and is the more physical of the two, so he should get the bulk of the carries on first and second down, with Henderson and possibly Kyren Williams contributing on third down.

Terrell Lewis falling way behind at OLB

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

This might be the biggest stunner of the entire depth chart. Lewis was believed to be competing with Justin Hollins as a starter at outside linebacker, but he’s not even listed as a backup. He’s with the third-team defense alongside Benton Whitley, behind Chris Garrett and Daniel Hardy. Hollins is listed as the starter with Leonard Floyd.

That’s not great news for Lewis, who is healthy and appeared ready for a breakout season with Von Miller gone. He clearly has work to do this preseason in order to prove he’s deserving of a roster spot because he might be closer to the bubble than anyone expected.

Jordan Fuller is a backup?

(AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Ok, forget what I said before. THIS is the biggest surprise. Fuller, a team captain who has started 28 games and was the signal caller for most of the 2021 season, is listed as a backup at safety. He’s behind both Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott, being listed at strong safety with Terrell Burgess as the second-team free safety.

That’s a stunner. McVay already said Fuller won’t play in the preseason like Rapp and Scott, but he’s expected to be a starter in the secondary. Maybe he’s just lower on the depth chart because he’s working his way back from ankle surgery. Even still, it’s surprising to see Rapp ahead of him.

Veteran holding off rookie at punter

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

There are three preseason games that will help settle the punter battle, but entering the exhibition opener, it’s Riley Dixon who’s listed as the first-team punter with Cameron Dicker backing him up. Dixon is also the only player listed as the holder, which is usually the punter’s job.

The Rams might be leaning toward veteran experience over the rookie on special teams.

1

1

1

1

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire