2014 Depth Chart: St. Louis Rams

A look at the depth and quality of each position on the roster for the 2014 St. Louis Rams.

| 3 years ago

2014 Depth Chart: St. Louis Rams

2014 depth update STL

[Chart last updated 7/9/14]


•  One of the easiest decisions of the depth chart series was making Robert Quinn elite after his massive 2013 season. He had a couple of quiet games over the course of the season, but these occurrences were a rarity compared with the games where he was close to unstoppable as a pass rusher. He’s just 24 years old now so we’re really all just waiting to see how he follows it up in 2014.

•  Janoris Jenkins is a player who I feel at times gets overvalued. He absolutely can make plays on the ball, as his 22 pass breakups, to go along with five interceptions, over the past two years suggest. However he’s also prone to mistakes in coverage, and had six games last year where he allowed a reception of 30 yards or longer.

• One player the Rams will be expecting an improvement out of in 2014 is linebacker Alec Ogletree. After drafting him in the first round of the draft last year, the former Georgia Bulldog failed to impress much, finishing the year with 19 missed tackles. There were flashes of good play in there, but he needs to show that much more often for the Rams to get a return on their investment.

Roster Battles

1.  Defensive Tackle

After drafting him in the first round of this year’s draft, big things will be expected out of Aaron Donald. But how quickly can we expect to see him with a starring role? He’ll have to beat out Kendall Langford, and with the former Miami Dolphin having such a strong season against the run in 2013, it seems to make a lot of sense to leave him in on early downs, and bring Donald onto the field on more obvious passing situations early on.

2.  Cornerback

Like Donald at defensive tackle, the Rams also have a high draft pick at cornerback in second round pick Lamarcus Joyner. Right now he’s expected to be the team’s third corner, but faces a fight with Brandon McGee. McGee didn’t play much as a rookie in 2013, outside of a poor outing against the Chicago Bears in Week 12 where he allowed all four passes thrown his way to be caught, and committed three penalties in coverage.

3.  Wide Receiver

We know that the Rams will be expecting big things, in a variety of roles, out of second year man Tavon Austin, but how do the rest of the receivers stack up? The combination of Chris Givens, Austin Pettis, Brian Quick and Stedman Bailey won’t strike much fear into opposing defensive backs, but if there’s a wild card here it’s Kenny Britt. He’s been terrible in recent years, so much so that we can’t have him as anything other than a poor starter. And yet when you look back over the first couple of years of his career, you would have expected him to have developed into a top receiver. Can he salvage his career in St. Louis and get back to the level he once played at?


Click here to see all of the depth charts we’ve covered.


Follow Gordon on Twitter: @PFF_Gordon

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

  • kevin

    This is awful.

  • Fernando

    How is Alec Ogletree a Below Average Starter?

    • Phil

      By being worse than the average player at his position?

      • Fernando

        Please provide facts to support your assertion.

        • Phil

          Errmm, you’re on a site who’s whole purpose is to give you as close to facts that you are going to get.
          If that doesn’t work for you, best go back to one of the more popular sites with their vague banalaties and lack of any original research…

          • Fernando

            What you just said is a great example of vague banalaties and lack of any original research.

          • Phil

            Best ask the person that looks after you to explain it to you (make sure they use short words). Why when a site like PFF watches every play and has an encyclopedic style amount of data for each player that you can look up would *I* need to explain it to you.
            Go back to PFT, you are very very lost here.

          • Fernando

            It is indeed difficult to explain assertion that is not supported facts. But, it is much easier to blindly accept third party’s opinion. Also “PFF watches every play”? You just love making reckless assumptions and assertion.

    • Fernando

      the former Georgia Bulldog failed to impress much? Huh? 6 FF, 10th ranked number of tackles, and 98 yards INT TD is a failure?

    • Gordon McGuinness

      Couple of reasons. His 19 missed tackles were tied for 2nd most amongst all 4-3 outside linebackers, and 6th most amongst all defensive players. In coverage he allowed 72 receptions (most amongst 4-3 OLBs), for 785 yards (2nd most amongst 4-3 OLBs). As impressive as the flash plays were, his overall game just didn’t live up to that in his rookie year.

      • Fernando

        Thank you for your response Gordon. This is much better than what Phil offered. I’m still finding the assessment bit harsh as receptions allowed (and for missed tackles) can be a result of scheme, lack of support from teammates, and more. Because he was still able to produced enough number of tackles to be ranked at 10th in the league and was able to create numerous turnovers, I feel he deserve a rating higher than “below average starter”.

      • Marty

        Can you tell us where you’re pulling these stats from?

        • Gordon McGuinness

          Certainly, all our missed tackle and coverage stats are recorded by ourselves during the analysis process.

  • RA

    I think this is a really hard list to make for a team that was without their starting qb last season.

  • Nick G

    absolute joke. Players rated lower than they should be

    Dramatically -Zac Stacy, Michael Brockers, Alec Ogletree (what?!), Chris Long, James Laurinaitis (overrated around the league, but below average starter? Stop), Tru Johnson is at least an average starter, TJ McDonald was OUTSTANDING before injury, and Rodger Saffold.

    EACH of them is criminally underrated here. Agree on Jenkins being average.

    Would love to hear from someone who comes up with the list. Zac Stacy had 900 yards last year with Kellen Clemens behind center.

    • Gordon McGuinness

      I’ll take these one by one and run through my thinking behind each rating.

      Zac Stacy: While he started strong, he didn’t really maintain that. The tackle breaking that we saw in his first five starts faded and he, while he definitely has the potential to be better, was a very average back in the second half of the year.

      Michael Brockers: Simply wasn’t as good as advertised in 2013. Yes he had six sacks, but that makes up a mere 1.35% of his pass rushing snaps and with just 20 total pressure in the regular season, he was getting pressure on the QB on just 4.51% of his pass rushing snaps. Against the run he started the season strong but, like Stacy at running back, faded away as the season went on. He’s been in the league for two years, so it’s definitely fair to expect him to improve in 2014, but he needs to be more consistent.

      Alec Ogletree: Went into greater detail on Ogletree further down in the comments but he missed far too many tackles and gave up far too much in coverage to be any higher.

      Chris Long: Wasn’t as good a pass rusher as we’ve seen from him in the past and struggled against the run, particularly in the second half of the season.

      James Laurinaitis: Has always struggled somewhat against the run but in the past his play in coverage has balanced that out. It didn’t in 2013 though, and he finished the year with 13 missed tackles.

      Trumaine Johnson: Up and down in coverage last year, but more downs than ups sadly. Also tied for the 6th most missed tackles amongst cornerbacks with 15.

      TJ McDonald: Wasn’t great in coverage and struggled against the run. However, looking back there were two games in particular that dragged his grade now so I’m inclined to make a change here and up him to below average as I think the red rating is a bit harsh.

      Rodger Saffold: Had a nice stretch of games at right guard where he did well as a run blocker, but anything higher than light green based off of a succesful five game stretch would be generous in my opinion.

      • Grant

        It seems inconsistent to say that Percy Harvin is high quality based on 20 snaps last season, but Saffold’s limited 6 game sample holds him back.

        • Grant

          Sorry for the double post, I accidently hit submit, but I just don’t understand how some of these rankings compare across teams.
          So Chris Long isn’t any better than Justin Tuck? Antonio Smith is noticeably better than Brockers? I know the Rams WRs aren’t great, but Jon Baldwin, who had 3 catches last year, is just as good as Chris Givens and Jared Cook? Craig Dahl is better than both Rams safeties? Backup LB flotsam like DJ Smith, Ashlee Palmer, and 3rd string Browns backup LB Zach Diles are just as Laurinitus??

        • Thomas Holm

          The difference is that Harvin is high quality every time he steps on the field.

          • Brandon

            Harvin might only have had 20 snaps last season, but that doesnt erase his career with the vikings. Honestly, outside of this season Harvin has been borderline elite

          • Nowhere Man

            From Gordon himself: “Chris Long: Wasn’t as good a pass rusher as we’ve seen from him in the past”

            So, if Chris was docked for not being as good a pass rusher last season as he has been in the past, why wasn’t Harvin docked for literally doing nothing compared to what he’s been in the past?

      • Nick G

        Thanks for your reply. Can you maybe go into more detail on how Chris Long regressed as a rusher? I thought he was excellent in his hurries, but could be wrong.

        See your point on JL and Saffold. Disagree on the others, but I guess it’s a stats based formula.

        As another poster stated, can you explain how a roster this “brutal” went 7 and 9 in the NFC West last year? Thanks for the discussion.

        • Gordon McGuinness

          He wasn’t terrible as a pass rusher by any stretch, and the “good starter” tag comes mainly from his ability to get pressure, but when you look back to 2012 he had a +17.7 pass rushing grade, with 12 sacks, 9 hits and 55 hurries. Last year that dropped to +8.3 with 10 sacks, 7 hits and 46 hurries.

          Now those pass rushing numbers might not seem like a big drop off (76 total pressures to 63 from 2012 to 2013) but when we are grading players we’re looking at things like how quickly they beat their blocker, and if the pressure came unblocked or in clean-up duty. Our grades are always a better indication of how a pass rusher played as opposed to the raw pressure numbers for that reason.

          I’m not really going to get into the 7-9 discussion because wins can be a bit trivial. A big play one way or another can impact who wins a game regardless of who had the best players on the field that day. However, as I’d mentioned in the original reply, a lot of these grades were down to players being too inconsistent, which I think ties in well with a 7-9 record.

          • Dr. Mantis Tobaggon

            Except that’s in no way how the vast majority of the Rams’ wins occurred, and in fact a lot of their wins were blowouts against good teams. Their wins were by 3 (Cardinals), 14 (Jags), 25 (Texans), 30 (Colts), 21 (Bears), 11 (Saints), and 10 (Bucs). They literally had 1 single digit win the entire season, and it was against a 10 win team.
            It’s also crazy to me that Football Outsiders had them 12th in Defensive DVOA, yet you guys claim they have 2 above average starters. Or that according to PFF, if they traded Laurintius for Vikings backup LB Audie Cole, traded Ogletree for Cowboys 3rd string LB Devonte Hollomon, Brockers for Chargers backup Lawrence Guy, and McDonald for Craig Dahl, they would actually be UPGRADING their roster according to your grades.
            LaMarr Woodley and Justin Tuck were both just free agents and got $12mm and $11mm respectively. Is that how much Chris Long would be getting on the open market?

          • Nowhere Man

            Yeah, the ratings system is definitely flawed. If not for the player ratings alone, the consistency across teams. Long just can’t be docked for not being as good as the season before is Harvin isn’t docked for doing literally nothing for the Hawks last year. That, above all, makes absolutely no sense to me. Also, Saffold’s 5 game sample size is of course better than Harvin’s 20 snaps, as has already been mentioned.

            I think their biggest flaw is that a couple of bad games can seriously hamper a player’s rating when it shouldn’t. Someone might have two atrocious games and be average the rest of the way but they would be poor or below average in their rating.

      • Chris

        This guy is a fucking idiot. I want to punch you in the face

      • josh

        Gordon, you guys keep bringing up how many missed tackles our guys had but can’t that be equated to errors by baseball players. The more chances a player gets the more liklihood of a mistakes which is why in baseball the number of errors do not necessarily determine if a fielder is good or not

      • Gaek

        These are what I’d call knockdown arguments.

      • Nowhere Man

        When you say Stacy started strong, I’m going to imagine good (light green status). So if he was good for half of his starts (he was still good against Chicago and New Orleans) and average for the rest, wouldn’t that make him…above average, at the very least?

  • Chris

    I really feel like some of these are a tad harsh.

    • Gaek

      I don’t; the Rams’ roster talent is vastly over-rated outside of the O and D-lines.

      • Nowhere Man

        The present value of the Rams roster is vastly overrated. The talent level, however, is not.

  • Grant

    Can you please do an extended, in-depth article on how the Rams won 7 games in the NFC West with their backup QB last year with such a terrible roster? They must have had absolutely off-the-charts coaching and special teams play. Especially when comparable teams like the Jaguars and Raiders finished with less wins with easier schedules.

    • Michael

      They went 1-5 in the NFC West. All of their other wins came from put of the division.

    • PhillyP

      I can explain how the rams haven’t accomplished anything since the early 2000s.

    • Chris from the Cape

      I apologize for basically restating your post: I just can’t wrap my mind around them even sniffing .500: It makes me think of a AAA baseball team being promoted to the AL East and finishing a game out of the Wild Card spot.

  • Chris

    Gordon McGuinness is the man.

  • ShameonMe

    Hmm. I thought popular opinion was that the Rams had one of the best defensive fronts in the league.

    • Nick G

      Not popular. Literally everyone except this guys.

    • Gaek

      Front 4 perhaps (esp. if Donald pans out), but the linebacker group is quite pedestrian.

      • Gaek

        Frankly even Long is over-rated – more a “clean-up” sacks guy than someone who teams scheme against.

        • Nowhere Man

          Long’s value is in his ability to pressure QBs. He doesn’t have the best finishing moves, but he consistently makes the QBs speed up their process. He’s ridiculously powerful and has a motor second to none.

  • Anon

    “Why aren’t all of my teams starters elite? My team has arguably top 10 players at every position. Kek, gud1 PFF, lern2futball”. – Just about sums up every teams depth chart comments section

    • Chris from the Cape

      Its pretty easy to spot the newcomers to the site by the comments, isn’t it?

  • James

    You’re missing Barrett Jones

  • Chris from the Cape

    7-9 Having to play the Seahawks, 49ers and Cardinals twice with a backup QB.
    That sounds like a Coach of the Year should have been in order with this roster, no?

    • FistedSister

      And all those teams you mentioned dominated the Rams all year.

      • IRam

        Only the 49ers. They split with the Cardinals and dominated the Seahawks at home losing on the last play of the game.

      • Budiphl Laiphe

        Your comments are obviously biased. Amazes me when haters take the
        time to hate. Laker’s haters or Dallas haters or Yankee haters, I can see that. But the Rams? GET A LIFE. The Rams are a nobody franchise. Who cares?

        I know what you’re going to say. It’s a failed argument. It is totally different to take time to defend your team than to take time to post bogus crap
        about another team. I don’t like a lot of teams, but I NEVER go on their
        sites or to articles about them just to talk nonfactual hateful crap. Life is
        too short to be so hateful (and factually wrong).

        “all those teams you mentioned dominated the Rams all year”

        Seriously? That’s the best you can do? It’s not a shame to be dominated by NFC West teams. Seahawks and Niners were in the NFC Championship game with 13 and 12 wins each. You saw what Seattle did to the Broncos in the SB. 43-8. That’s Domination. Niners and Seahawks are powerhouse teams by EVERYONE’s power rankings. Don’t you agree? What’s shameful about that for the Rams? Rams play in the toughest division in the NFL. Even the Cards had 10 wins. Their record doesn’t mean the Rams are a weak team. They are young and improving, but they are not to be dismissed like you claim.

        Rams had quality wins. Rams did their share of dominating also. The Rams beat the 11-5 Saints 27-16, the 11-5 Colts 38-8, and the 10-6 Cards 27-24. Can you still be dismissive and ignore these facts? Rams were inconsistent from game to game, but considering they had quality wins AND they play in the toughest division in the NFL, their 7-9 record is nothing to scoff at.

        Seahawks have arguably the toughest stadium to play in. Loudest in the NFL. Audibles for the visiting team? Forget it. Seahawks only lost 1 game at home and that was against the Cards 10-17. Cards are no slouch team, winning 10 games. Yes, the Rams got demolished at Seattle, but held their own at home in the EJ Dome, losing to the Seahawks by just 9-14. The Rams sacked Russel Wilson 7 times, held him to 10 completions for 139 yards, and held Beast Mode to 39 yards rushing. The Rams rushed for 200 yards, and had 339 total yards vs 135 for Seattle. Any team will struggle at CLink field in Seattle. The Rams can hold their own at home, however as they proved against Seattle.

        The Rams held Seattle to 14 points at home. That’s pretty good considering Seattle scored 43 against Denver, held them to 27 yards rushing and 8 points while making 341 total yards on the Broncos. Remember, Seattle had 135 total yards vs the Rams and 341 total vs the Broncos. BTW, Denver sacked Wilson ZERO times.

        NFC West is the #1 division in the NFL for a reason. NFC West had a record of 13-3 vs the AFC South in 2013. The Broncos will play every NFC West team in 2014. You can see how they fare against the NFC West.

        Before you dog on the Rams, first of all don’t. Who cares, about the Rams except the Rams fans? Go hate on the Cowboys, Niners, Patriots, or Steelers. It’s way more fun. Secondly, bring some actual knowledge. Your generalizing and non-factual summarizations are lame. You don’t have a leg to stand on with your rants.

        Hating on the Rams is like Hating on Steve Urkel. Not a hard thing to do, but if you do, bring some actual facts and truths with you. Then you won’t look like a dope.

  • FistedSister

    It’s so true. The only people that can’t see it are Rams fans. Shocking. These are the fans that have been saying “this is the year” since 2003.

    • Michael Owens

      Disagree. You are completely generalizing. Only within the last year and a half we’ve had a roster that has had the ability to compete. These rankings should be in question any way when a guy like Zac Stacy who was ranked ahead of Reggie Bush in the year end PFF rankings is marked as an ‘Average’ starter, and Reggie Bush is ranked as ‘Good’ even though Stacy was ahead of Bush. Not sure how that works out. :-/

      • FistedSister

        Again the only people who think the rams have a good team are rams fans. Period. End of statement.

        • Michael Owens

          Very insightful and well thought out response to how the validity of the rankings could be questioned.

    • Budiphl Laiphe

      You can’t buy a clue. I don’t know of any Rams fans who seriously thought they had a championship team the past decade. Since 2012, a new FO is hired and the team is improving. Draft grades are higher since 2012. Individual positions are improving and fans disagree with the PFF logic. That’s all. Why get all huffy on the Rams fans? What did the Rams do to you anyway? It seems personal because it’s not logical.

      According to PFF, the Rams have the 3rd worst team in the NFL, according to TST? Seriously?? They were 7-9 in the NFC West. They beat Indy and New Orleans by a combined score of 65 – 24. Both those teams went 11-5 on the year. These PFF rankings are educated guesses because they can’t take into account things like coaching changes and growth in young players, but make no mistake. These are just guesses based on historical data. It doesn’t take into account a decline of a player’s skills based on deteriorating ability due to age and the increase of a player’s skills based on a young player’s up coaching and training. It’s an estimation, if you will. 3rd worst team is too low, however. Not a chance are the Rams worse than most teams in the NFL.

      Want to talk fan bases? Atlanta fans were talking tons of trash at the beginning of last season. Where did they end up? 4-12. I’d call that delusional.

      Houston had trash talking fans too last year. Especially when many analysts were predicting a divisional win. Their fans predicted 12-4 for 2013, and why not? They were 12-4 in 2012. Pfffffffft. that’s the sound of the balloon deflating. They ended up at 2-14. In a poll, over 1,500 out of 1,700 total votes or 95% thought the Texans would beat the Rams. Final Score? 38-13 Rams win. From 12-4 predictions to 2-14 actual. THAT’s delusional.

      Every team has delusional fans. You act high and mighty, but I’ll bet you are guilty of the same things you criticize the Rams for. And to single the Rams out as if only the Rams fans are that stupid is silly. Just silly stupid dumb. All fans bases are guilty of various behavior, good and bad.

      And if you have a warped impression of Rams fans, you better start talking to new ones. The ones you are talking to seem ignorant.

      And for the record, I do not think the Rams will win a Superbowl in 2014-15. We can improve on 7-9, but we have to prove it first. The team is young and could upgrade a few positions. We’re not there yet. Reasonable enough for you?

      • FistedSister

        Really? I know a few dozen. A couple GUARANTEED last year they would win the division.

  • Hsjasjj

    This site is ridiculous. How can you possibly say a team with one of the toughest schedules in the NFL that finished one play away from being .500 (Seattle) the second worst team in the NFL. If you guys were such experts you would see in film that our defense was out of position because of our lack of a D coordinator. When the Rams have a top 10 defense this year you guys are going to look like real idiots.

    • kingz

      PFF is an amazing resource, but at the end of the day, it’s dude(s) sitting on their couch just like the rest of us and it’s subjective. They, like just about everyone else, will inevitably be wrong by the end of the season.

  • Aaron Lorton

    Laurinaitis and Ogletree are “below average”?

    • General Sherman

      Aaron, I agree. No way below average. Sometimes quantitative analysis doesn’t always apply to football.

      • Gaek

        While I agree with you that sometimes the human things cannot be quantified (as Aristotle famously said), Laurinaitis and Ogletree didn’t impress much on the games I’ve seen last year either. I think some of the reaction on this site has to do with a clear hometown bias.

  • Mark

    Alec Ogeltree had 3 million tackles last year, yeah, but he is below average. I expected him to come in somewhere around 5 million tackles.

  • GESBoulder

    Based off the PFF depth chart rating catagories quantified (with a draft position based value for starting rookies week 1, and a PFF based value for NEIs) and plugged into my power rating model; he are the resulting power ratings from the updated charts.

    New Orleans
    San Francisco
    New England
    Green Bay
    San Diego
    Kansas City
    New York
    Tampa Bay
    St Louis
    New York

    NFL Average