PFF ranked the Rams as one of the NFL’s worst rosters in 2023
There is not much optimism around the los angeles rams ahead of the 2023 season. This is especially felt in the media where many of the Rams position groups have been ranked at or near the bottom of the NFL.
That shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. After all, the Rams are coming off a 5-12 season and have won just two games in the final 11 weeks of the season. Still, it seems strange for a recent Super Bowl champion to have fallen so far.
Yes, many of the pieces on the Super Bowl roster are different. Jalen Ramsey was traded and Leonard Floyd was released. On offense, Andrew Whitworth has retired and both Robert Woods and Odell Beckham Jr. are no longer on the roster. The list is seen day and night compared to what he did even a year ago. The Rams lifted the Lombardi trophy a little over a year ago. For them to be considered one of the worst rosters in the NFL, “weird” is the only way to describe it.
Pro Football Focus recently released its early 2023 roster rankings for every NFL team.. At 31, just ahead of the arizona cardinalsthey were the rams.
“A look at the Rams’ roster shows a team dealing with the consequences of its win-now approach over the past half-decade. They got their trophy, but the closet looks pretty empty. Healthy versions of Stafford, Kupp and Donald give them a chance to win games. That’s all. They won five last year and dropped bobby wagner and Jalen Ramsey. It’s nice to see how such a small team reaches seven victories”.
This seems to be the consensus opinion with the Rams going into this season. Not too bad since the Rams’ closet is empty outside of their three stars. You don’t have more than 40 roster rookies heading to training camp on a team that already has several established players.
PFF divided his explanation into sections: biggest strength, biggest weakness, x-factor, and newbie to watch. The Rams’ biggest strength was their run defense and their biggest weakness was their offensive line. On the offensive line, PFF said,
“The Rams suffered an absurd amount of injuries up front. Only two of his offensive linemen played at least 500 snaps. Right tackle Rob Havenstein was the only one to appear in all 17 games. The Rams were the lowest scoring team in the NFL outside of their 51-point rout of Denver on Christmas Day. Injuries to the offensive line and subsequent injuries to Matthew Stafford were the main reason for his downfall.”
The offensive line ended up being the biggest weakness last year, but a lot of that was down to injuries. Injuries weren’t the only reason, but they were a main reason. Still, while the offensive line is the most important thing to the Rams’ success, I’m not sure if it’s the biggest weakness.
Outside of Cobie Durant, the Rams don’t have much experience or talent at cornerback. Derion Kendrick is slated to start on the outside along with potentially Robert Rochell. Both players are extremely undertested. At least on the offensive line, the Rams still have Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton, Rob Havenstein and Steve Avila. Outside of Ávila, those are at least experienced players. Havenstein and Allen have shown they can play above average at their position.
Avila was also named the best rookie on the team, which is not surprising. However, Kobie Turner could be in the conversation at the end of the season along with Byron Young. Meanwhile, Cam Akers was named the x factor for the Rams.
This is what PFF had to say about Avila,
“The second round of TCU he should be an immediate starter at any of the guard jobs for the Rams. Four different players appeared at left guard for them last year, while six appeared at right guard. Avila blocking one of those places would bring desperately needed stability to the forefront. He was one of the best pass-protecting guards in the 2023 class (83.6 grade in 2022).”
While the Rams’ roster may not look great on paper, they also won’t have the pressure to repeat or be the defending Super Bowl champion. As usual with this Rams team, they go from one extreme to the other. Not having this pressure can end up being beneficial at the end of the day. We can look at PFF’s ratings and analytics and say the Rams have a bad roster. Games are played on the field and it will be interesting to see what this Rams team does this season.