<
>

Rams QB Sean Mannion will probably back up Jared Goff in 2017

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- At this time last year, the Los Angeles Rams were all about the quarterback. They entered the scouting combine with the 15th overall pick in the upcoming draft, and the likes of Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Paxton Lynch weighed heavily on their minds. The Rams eventually traded up for the No. 1 pick and drafted Goff out of Cal.

Now the quarterback position is the furthest thing from their minds.

Goff will be the starter this coming season, and Sean Mannion, a third-round pick two years earlier, is expected to be his backup. The Rams won't pay much attention to quarterbacks, be it in the draft or in free agency or via trade. The most they're expected to do is sign a third-string quarterback down the road, for training camp and the preseason.

Tony Romo and Jay Cutler are expected to be made available, but the Rams won't really care. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, Matt Schaub, Matt McGloin and Mike Glennon are appealing backup options in free agency, but the Rams are expected to stay in-house. They have too many other needs, particularly at receiver and along their offensive line. And they're intrigued by Mannion, who was taken 89th overall out of Oregon State in 2015.

The Rams are hopeful that Mannion -- and Goff, of course -- can take a big developmental step under new coach Sean McVay, who worked wonders with Kirk Cousins in Washington.

Mannion has only thrown 13 passes in his NFL career. He spent most of the last two years as an inactive third-string quarterback, but towards the end of the Rams' eventual 4-12 season in 2016, Mannion was promoted to backup duties. He jumped ahead of Case Keenum, who will soon become an unrestricted free agent, for the final two games. And he got some snaps towards the end of their regular-season finale.

"I feel like I've made huge strides," Mannion said as the season was winding down. "... Without getting a chance to play, maybe it doesn’t show to you guys and you guys aren’t able to see it, but I certainly feel like I’ve been getting better and better each day and each week, from last year to this year. That’s something I feel good about."