EARTH CITY, Mo. -- With the NFL draft and free agency complete, the St. Louis Rams' 53-man roster will likely come mostly from the players who now populate it.
With organized team activities (OTAs) still more than a week away, we take a look at where each position stands heading into next week. The next in the series continues Tuesday by examining the safeties.
Projected starters: McDonald, McLeod
Pending competition: In the long-term, it's probably fair to wonder whether coach Jeff Fisher and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams envision a McDonald-Alexander tandem on the back end, but it seems unlikely that's going to happen right away. Fisher was excited to get Alexander in the fourth round and wouldn't be that excited if he only viewed him as a special teamer. So at some point, that competition could come into play and it seems McDonald is entrenched in one safety spot. But for now, it's probably a safe bet McLeod will get a chance to play safety on a more exclusive basis. Since the Rams added Lamarcus Joyner to be the primary nickel corner, McLeod should benefit from getting to focus on playing safety on a more regular basis. Beyond the trio of McDonald, McLeod and Alexander, there figures to be a battle for a fourth and possibly fifth safety spot on the roster as well. Special teams will go a long way in determining those.
Outlook: The Rams have a lot of faith in McDonald and though he missed time with an injury in 2013, he should only get better as Williams devises different ways to use him. McLeod was a first-time starter in 2013 and, like much of the roster, the Rams are banking on him to improve given a second attempt. Alexander will eventually fit into the mix so long as he also develops but he might take a little longer given his lack of experience playing safety. Daniels has always brought a lot of potential but injuries have kept him from reaching it, and Davis remains as a possible special teams contributor. Bryant could be a bit of a sleeper so long as he's fully recovered from an ankle injury. All told, this is a young, inexperienced group that will need to take some major steps forward to not be considered the weakness of the defense in 2014.