With the Rams’ first preseason game of the 2017 season coming on Saturday against the Cowboys, the club released its first unofficial depth chart on Monday afternoon.
There weren’t many surprises, though there are some notable names off the list. Here are three notes on what stands out.
1) Starting defensive line: Westbrooks, Brockers, Trinca-Pasat
Perhaps the most notable item from the depth chart is who isn’t on it. Because he still has not reported to camp, defensive tackle Aaron Donald is not listed on the depth chart. And because he’s on injured reserve after suffering a season-ending knee injury, Dominique Easley is also not on this depth chart.
Nose tackle Michael Brockers, defensive end Ethan Westbrooks, and defensive tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat are the three listed starters on the defensive line. Brockers has been a starter for a while, so there’s no surprise there. Westbrooks has played 35 games in his career — with two starts in the 2016 season — recording 4.0 sacks.
But Trinca-Pasat has yet to play a regular-season snap. Originally signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015, Trinca-Pasat was a member of the Rams’ practice squad for nearly all of that season. Though he was signed to the active roster in mid-December, he was inactive for the year’s remaining games.
Then in 2016, Trinca-Pasat suffered a season-ending injury during the offseason program and spent the year on injured reserve.
Head coach Sean McVay has been complimentary of Trinca-Pasat’s performance throughout camp, saying last week, “I think when you talk about a guy that’s just doing things the right way, consistency, dependability, reliability — very physical player, hard to move, plays with a great low center of gravity, he uses his hands well even though he is a little bit stockier guy. So in the little bit that we’ve seen from him with the offseason program and then when you put the pads on, I think he has done a nice job for us.”
2) Where are the draft picks?
Again, keeping in mind that this is an unofficial list, wide receiver Cooper Kupp is currently the only rookie listed in a starting role. He’s listed ahead of Pharaoh Cooper, Paul McRoberts, Josh Reynolds, and C.J. Germany in his particular wide receiver spot. Robert Woods and Tavon Austin are the other listed starters at wide receiver.
Samson Ebukam is a third-string outside linebacker behind Connor Barwin and Cassanova McKinzy. On the other side at OLB, Ejuan Price is listed behind Robert Quinn and Matt Longacre. And safety John Johnson is listed on the third-team defense.
Finally, one is the loneliest number: Sam Rogers is listed as the only fullback under the second-team offense.
3) Who will be the returners?
If there’s one mystery on Los Angeles’ depth chart, it’s who the returners might be in the preseason contests.
Tavon Austin is the only listed punt returner and he’s second string at kick returner. Austin, however, is currently day-to-day with a hamstring injury. Pharoh Cooper is currently the only other returner listed, as the first-team kick returner.
But with Austin currently sidelined, who might be back there?
“I think when you look at what Tavon’s been able to do and guys like Pharoh Cooper, so he’s definitely in the mix with that. And I think you saw Cooper Kupp did a great job back there catching some in the practice against the Chargers,” McVay said on Sunday. “But [special teams coordinator John Fassel] is one of the best in the league for a reason. He’ll do a good job of finding that and we’ll figure out how those guys fit into the mix based on how the way that our final 53 and our active game day roster shapes out.”