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 already on the team.
With organized team activities (OTAs) less than a week away, we take a look at where each position stands heading into next week. The next in the series continues today by examining the cornerbacks.
Projected starters: Jenkins, Johnson, Joyner (in nickel package)
Pending competition: The top three corners look to be etched in pretty solid stone with Jenkins, Johnson and Joyner handling the duties in the nickel package. Things will get interesting after that for a fourth and, possibly, fifth corner on the roster. McGee would seem to have an edge for a spot as he comes back for Year 2, but his spot is far from guaranteed with the additions of Gaines, Reid and Roberson. Gaines has the ability to play all three corner positions and could be a sleeper. Roberson is probably the most high profile of the team's undrafted free agents and could also push for a spot. Reid brings intriguing speed and return ability that could make him a keeper if for no other reason than special teams. Woodard was also with the time for much of last season on the practice squad and has some knowledge of the defense. Even Bryant adds some intrigue with his 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame. Regardless, look for a battle between McGee, Woodard, Gaines, Reid, Bryant and Roberson for what will likely be one or two spots.
Outlook: Jenkins and Johnson are the "grizzled" vets of this group, entering their third season in the league. It's time for both to take expanded roles as leaders in the young secondary and, more important, perform with more consistency from week to week. Both have flashed potential and the Rams would love nothing more than for that pair to be the long-term answer on the outside, but they'll have to improve over a 2013 season that was up and down at best. Joyner should be able to help right away and brings the intangibles to one day provide some leadership for this group though he doesn't have much size and will probably be tested as a rookie. Beyond that group, the others provide upside but it must be developed. In many ways, this position is similar to wide receiver where you can see flashes of ability here and there, but so far the productivity hasn't matched the potential. If players such as Jenkins and/or Johnson don't take a step forward in 2014, the Rams could be searching for starting caliber corner in 2015.