2018 Los Angeles Rams starters, 53-man roster, schedule prediction

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams cut their roster down to 53 Saturday. Here's what the roster looks lile:

QUARTERBACK (3): Jared Goff, Sean Mannion, Brandon Allen

Goff is the franchise quarterback. Mannion, a fourth-year pro, played inconsistently throughout the preseason, struggling with slow starts. Allen provides another option if needed.

RUNNING BACK (4): Todd Gurley, Malcolm Brown, Justin Davis, John Kelly

Gurley received a four-year, $60-million extension before the start of his fourth season. He is rarely expected to come off the field. Brown is a proven backup. Davis and Kelly, a sixth-round pick from Tennessee, earned roster spots because of their potential to contribute on special teams.

WIDE RECEIVER (6): Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds, Michael Thomas, Pharoh Cooper

The starting trio of Cooks, Woods and Kupp has the potential to be among the best in the league. Cooks was acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots and received a five-year, $81 million extension before playing a snap in L.A. A second-year pro, Kupp has elevated to a full-time starter and Woods returns as a versatile target.

TIGHT END (3): Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett, Johnny Mundt

Higbee was among the most improved during training camp and stood out as a potential redzone target. Everett was sidelined through the preseason because of a shoulder injury but should be a solid contributor. Mundt makes the team after spending a season on the practice squad.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8): Andrew Whitworth, Rodger Saffold, John Sullivan, Rob Havenstein, Austin Blythe, Joseph Noteboom, Brian Allen, Jamil Demby

The Rams were the only line in the league last season to start the same five players for 15 consecutive games. That won’t be the case in 2018, with starting right guard Jamon Brown serving a two-game suspension. Blythe, a fourth-year pro is likely to start in his absence. Three rookies – Noteboom, Allen and Demby -- also will be depended on as backups.

DEFENSIVE LINE (6): Aaron Donald*, Ndamukong Suh, Michael Brockers, Ethan Westbrooks, Tanzel Smart, John Franklin-Myers, Sebastian Joseph-Day

Donald is currently listed as a roster exemption, not counting toward the final 53. But he is expected to play in a season opener after signing a six-year extension worth $135 million. Donald, along with Suh and Brockers, could be the most dominant line in the league.

INSIDE LINEBACKER (5): Mark Barron, Cory Littleton, Ramik Wilson, Bryce Hager, Micah Kiser

Barron provides a veteran presence in an otherwise young and inexperienced group. Littleton, a former undrafted free agent, impressed coaches with his standout play on special teams and in spot opportunities on defense last season and is now a full-time starter. Littleton will responsible for relaying defensive play calls.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (5): Samson Ebukam, Matt Longacre, Dominique Easley, Trevon Young, Justin Lawler

Ebukam moves into a full-time starting role after serving a season on special teams. Longacre returns after recovering from back surgery last December and Easley is attempting a comeback after sitting out last season after suffering the third serious knee injury of his career dating to college. Together Longacre and Easley, a former interior lineman, provide an intriguing rotation on the edge opposite of Ebukam.

CORNERBACK (5): Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Sam Shields, Troy Hill

This group underwent the biggest offseason makeover with the additions of Talib, Peters and Shields. Talib and Peters are arguably the best duo in the league. Robey-Coleman returns to the nickel and Shields makes his return to football after sitting out nearly two seasons because of concussions.

SAFETY (5): Lamarcus Joyner, John Johnson, Marqui Christian, Blake Countess, Isaiah Johnson

Joyner will play on the franchise tag and Johnson will start for a second season. Peters called them both “ball hawks” and said Johnson would be an All-Pro soon. Christian was among the most improved players throughout the preseason.

SPECIALIST (3): Johnny Hekker, Greg Zuerlein, Jake McQuaide

Zuerlein, a.k.a. “Mr. Automatic,” returns after undergoing season-ending back surgery last December. This trio has played together for seven seasons.