When it comes to the Rams’ draft classes, expectations have to be tempered each year. This is a team that typically drafts a year in advance, not expecting many of their rookies to become immediate starters.
Will that be the case in 2022?
There are several incoming rookies who will compete for playing time next season, but more likely, the majority of them will see bigger roles in 2023.
Here are realistic expectations for each Rams rookie in 2022.
The Rams didn’t draft Bruss to sit on the bench for a year like they did with Joe Noteboom. They selected him with the belief that he’ll compete right away to start at right guard – and ideally, he’ll do exactly that. He may not have as much experience as players such as Coleman Shelton and Bobby Evans, but he has great size and dominated as a pass blocker in the Big Ten.
Expectation: Starting right guard
Durant will have a chance to play meaningful snaps as a rookie, given the Rams’ lack of depth in the secondary. Jalen Ramsey and Troy Hill figure to be the two starters in base packages, but Durant could beat out Robert Rochell and David Long Jr. for the nickel role. Most likely, he’ll play limited snaps early on, only contributing when the Rams get six defensive backs on the field together or if an injury occurs.
Expectation: Dime cornerback
Williams is a smaller back without elite speed, but he can still be productive at the NFL level. Just look at Austin Ekeler. For Williams, he won’t be the starter this season and may not even be the No. 2 guy behind Cam Akers. That’s fine because Sean McVay still finds ways to get his third running back involved, and Williams will get opportunities as a pass-catching specialist and blocker on third downs.
Expectation: No. 3 running back
If Jordan Fuller can start from Day 1, so can Lake. They’re similar players, and there’s room for both of them to be on the field together. Lake has some competition for the starting spot next to Fuller, needing to beat out Taylor Rapp and Terrell Burgess, but that’s very possible given his skill set. Ultimately, he’ll probably be a staple on special teams and will play 100 or so snaps on defense throughout the year.
Expectation: Special teams ace
Kendrick played in the ACC and SEC during his college career, so he might even be more prepared for the NFL than Durant. But he’s also not as refined in coverage and the lack of long speed is a concern for him. The best-case scenario for Kendrick is that he wins the nickel role, but more realistically, he’ll slot fifth or sixth on the depth chart at the cornerback.
Expectation: No. 5 cornerback
Hardy could find himself in a similar situation as Chris Garrett was in last year. Essentially, it’ll be a redshirt season for the small-school pass rusher who’s also undersized. What’s working in his favorite is the fact that the Rams are really thin on edge rushers, giving him a chance to play some snaps in specific situations or if an injury occurs to a starter.
Expectation: No. 5 edge rusher
Yeast plays with an edge in the secondary, always finding the ball and making plays. He has an uphill climb to play time, but at the very least, he’ll contribute on special teams. That will be his primary role as a rookie before potentially becoming a starter or the No. 3 safety in 2023.
Expectation: Special teams player
There is a lot of competition on the Rams’ offensive line, which will make it tough for Arcuri to do much as a rookie. Bobby Evans can play tackle, as can Tremayne Anchrum. Alaric Jackson is a player of the Rams really like, and he could take over Noteboom’s role as the swing tackle. In all likelihood, Arcuri will be fighting for a roster spot but should land on the practice squad.
Expectation: Practice squad