EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams' rookie class reports for duty Monday, with the veterans joining them Wednesday and training camp officially starting Friday.
With that in mind, let's rewind to the 2015 NFL draft and offer some thoughts on what to expect from the members of this year's Rams draft class as we head into training camp and beyond. We'll start with the first four picks and take care of the rest in a post later Monday.
RB Todd Gurley, first round: Gurley is expected to begin training camp on the non-football injury list. That's not a surprise for anyone who has been paying attention, and it's not at all a sign of a setback in his recovery from a torn left ACL. Landing on the NFI list means the Rams can activate him whenever they see fit with no real restrictions. In other words, when they deem Gurley healthy, he can return to the field. Gurley told me at the end of organized team activities that he hopes to do some individual drills in the early parts of camp and ease his way into full team drills after that. Those still seem like possible goals, and if he stays on that track he could still theoretically be ready for the start of the season. The Rams don't intend to rush him back, but predictions of holding him out until after the bye week are too far flung. Barring a setback, Gurley will likely return sooner than later. When he does, it's safe to assume Gurley will quickly become a focal point of the offense.
OT Rob Havenstein, second round: There's little to no mystery about where Havenstein fits going into camp and going into the season. He's the team's starting right tackle, and only an injury or some major struggles could do anything to change that. After letting Joe Barksdale walk in free agency and spending a second-round choice on Havenstein, the writing was on the wall. Rams coach Jeff Fisher envisions Havenstein filling the role of mauling right tackle similar to how Jon Runyan once did for him with the Tennessee Titans. This camp will provide plenty of tests for Havenstein, and his learning curve will be steep given matchups against the Rams' bevy of pass-rushers on a daily basis. That should only help him as he works to improve as a pass protector, the biggest question mark he faces entering the season.
OG Jamon Brown, third round: Much like Havenstein, Brown's spot was pretty clear almost from the moment he was drafted. The Rams said goodbye to starting guard Davin Joseph in the offseason and wanted to get younger on the line. Enter converted tackle Brown to the vacant spot at right guard. Brown worked with the first team at that position all through the offseason program, and Rams coaches have quietly been touting his potential to help out right away. He'll have some work to do as he adjusts to the move inside and will also have some adjustment and improvement to make in pass protection. But the expectation for him to start and have success in the run game right away remains.
QB Sean Mannion, third round: Of the Rams' first four picks, only Mannion doesn't come with some sort of immediate expectations. In a league where young signal-callers are often thrust into duty too soon only to fail, that's a good thing for Mannion. In fact, he won't even be asked to be the team's primary backup right away. That battle will come down to Austin Davis versus Case Keenum, with Mannion sticking around to be the No. 3. This camp and likely this season will offer Mannion an opportunity to adjust to the speed of NFL defenders, learn the offensive system and develop rapport with his teammates. It should also give him a chance to speed up his delivery a bit, one of the biggest concerns scouts had about him entering the draft.