LOS ANGELES -- In the days leading up to their season opener against the Indianapolis Colts, the Los Angeles Rams released their first, unofficial depth chart on Tuesday. Aaron Donald, on the reserve/did not report list while his holdout continues, was not listed.
His replacement: Tanzel Smart, a sixth-round pick in this year's draft.
Smart was listed alongside nose tackle Michael Brockers and defensive end Ethan Westbrooks, the likely replacement for Dominique Easley, whose season ended early in training camp because of a torn ACL. If Donald is officially ruled out for Sunday's game -- he hasn't been yet -- Smart would seemingly take his place. He would play the 3-technique, lining up between the opposing left guard and left tackle while taking a lot of snaps alongside outside linebacker Robert Quinn.
Smart is listed at 6-foot-1 and 290 pounds -- Donald is 6-1, 280 pounds -- and played the 3-technique at Tulane. He was first-team All-American Athletic Conference in both 2015 and 2016, compiling 18 1/2 tackles for loss in his final season. He had 9.5 sacks in 36 games as a starter over his last three collegiate seasons. Smart was asked about Donald during the rookie minicamp in the spring, way before it was known that Donald's holdout would prolong so much.
"It's crazy because, you know, I was a college player the same time he was," Smart said then. "I was a sophomore in college, and I just kept hearing his name. You know, 'Aaron Donald this, Aaron Donald that.' And I looked at the film and he was all over ESPN. And I followed him through my college career."
The Rams also listed Tavon Austin as one of three starting receivers, alongside Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. But rookie third-round pick Cooper Kupp is still expected to be the Rams' slot receiver, with Austin returning punts and fitting into the offense wherever he can.
The Rams are off on Tuesday. Donald has not reported to the team all summer and was not at the team's facility for Monday's practice. At this point, it seems unlikely that he will play in Week 1 -- and it is pretty much a certainty that he will not play much. Donald's only real chance of playing even a limited amount of snaps would probably be to report in time to attend Wednesday's practice, but there is no word on whether that will actually be the case.
Outside of Smart, Westbrooks and Brockers, the Rams have Morgan Fox, Tyrunn Walker and Quinton Jefferson, who was recently claimed off waivers from the division-rival Seattle Seahawks, as defensive linemen.