This is part two of a nine part series previewing each position on the St. Louis Rams in 2015. They will go as follows:
1 – QB
2 – RB/FB
3 – WR/TE
4 – OL
5 – DL
6 – LB
7 – CB
8 – SS/FS
9 – Special Teams
Part Two – Running Backs and Fullbacks
Running backs currently on roster:
Tre Mason – Mason was the leading rusher for the Rams after they selected him in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He surpassed now-former Rams RB Zac Stacy that came as a surprise to many. Mason finished the season with 179 attempts for 765 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Tre Mason will likely be the Rams starting running back on opening day but once Todd Gurley becomes completely healthy and available, we could see a drop-off in carries for Mason that would go to Gurley.
Todd Gurley – In a shocking move this past spring, the Rams selected former Georgia RB Todd Gurley with the tenth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Gurley’s upside is huge; he drew comparisons to Adrian Peterson at the draft. But as you may know, Gurley is coming off of a torn ACL from last November. The Rams will not rush him in recovery and will play him when he is healthy as can be. Once he is 100%, Gurley will get a lot of carries and could even surpass Tre Mason as the starting running back. But this likely wouldn’t be until midway through the season.
Benny Cunningham – Cunningham has been and will continue to be a staple at running back for the Rams. He is a reliable third down back that can both run and catch the ball. Benny has also shown that he can handle a load at RB, as he was second on the team in carries last season. Cunningham will start the season second on the depth chart at running back, but once Todd Gurley becomes healthy, Cunningham will likely drop to third on the depth chart and will mainly be used for third down and long situations in the passing game.
Chase Reynolds – There isn’t much to say about Chase Reynolds. He’s entering his fourth season with the Rams. He doesn’t see time at RB at all during the regular season; but he is one of the Rams’ best special teamers and will continue to be for years to come.
Isaiah Pead – Pead has been a letdown so far in his career. The Rams drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft. But he is yet to produce. He has been given many opportunities but struggles to protect the football and fumbles often. His main contributions have come via special teams but Pead tore his ACL last season and his career could be in jeopardy and it wouldn’t be surprising to Pead be cut this fall.
Trey Watts – Watts was signed by the Rams as an undrafted free agent last season and had a spectacular preseason, which lead to him making the team. But his roster spot is far from a lock. In a crowded backfield, Watts is going to have to work for a spot on the 53-man roster. There’s no guarantee for Watts on the roster and he could even be cut, depending on his performance in training camp and preseason.
Malcolm Brown – Brown was signed this past spring as an undrafted free agent. Brown played at the University of Texas, where he rushed for 708 yards and six touchdowns in 2014. Brown is a strong runner and will run through arm tackles and is also a quality blocker. Brown will be competing with Pead, Watts, and Franks for a roster spot.
Terrence Franks – Just a Malcolm Brown, Franks was signed as an undrafted free agent this past spring. Terrence Franks played at Texas State University, where he rushed for 712 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014. Franks will be competing for a spot at RB but also as a kick returner.
Fullbacks on roster:
Zach Laskey – This is odd, as the Rams don’t have a true fullback on their roster except for Laskey. Whenever the Rams needed a fullback; they usually used TE Cory Harkey. Laskey signed as an undrafted free agent in the spring of 2015. He played at Georgia Tech University where he rushed for 851 yards and nine touchdowns in 2014. Laskey comes in at 6’1” 218 lbs. It’ll be interesting to see what the Rams do with him.
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