(FootballStL) -- It didn't’t take long for the St. Louis Rams to start looking ahead after their selections in the 2013 NFL Draft. By midnight on draft conclusion night, Saturday April 27, the Rams had already identified and signed a handful of undrafted rookie free agents.
Since that time, the Rams added 22 undrafted rookie free agents, ranging from long snappers to kickers, and from well-known schools like Miami and Auburn to non-football powers like Henderson State and Regina. While a lot of these players will only get the experience of trying out for an NFL team, others will have a legitimate shot at making the training camp roster and progressing past the final cuts. Here are the five Rams’ undrafted free agent signings to keep an eye on as the summer progresses.
Cody Davis: S, Texas Tech
If there is one thing to know about Davis, it is that he is simply a tackling machine. In 49 career starts at Texas Tech, Davis amassed 362 tackles from the safety position. In 2012 alone, the Texas-native was fourth in the country in solo tackles with 84, and eighth in the nation for total tackles with 101. His senior season marked the third year in a row that Davis led the Red Raiders in total tackles. Although those numbers were high for Davis, he dropped out of the draft because of his inability to be a play maker. Davis registered only one sack, a measly four interceptions and only sixteen tackles for losses in four years at Lubbock. Davis has a chance to make the roster as a defensive back because of his bigger frame (6’2”), but with not overly-impressive speed, expect to see him fighting for a role on special teams or even a spot as a backup outside linebacker if he can put on the weight.
Braden Brown: OT, BYU
With all of the offensive lineman taken in the draft, it’s a little surprising that Brown, a four-year starter at tackle at BYU, was not chosen. That said, it might have worked out better for the Utah-native to pick and choose the Rams as the team to sign with as an undrafted free agent. Brown could be walking into a perfect situation in St. Louis, as the Rams are looking to bulk up their offensive line depth in what looks to be a defensive-oriented NFC West. With good size for a tackle at 6’5” 310 pounds and above-average athleticism, Brown, a converted tight end, should be able to come in and help the Rams get younger on the offensive line as a depth tackle. With a good showing at camp over the summer, Brown could turn out to be a key lineman Fisher and the coaching staff turns to on third down short yardage plays.
Phillip Lutzenkirchen: TE, Auburn
It didn't’t take long for the Rams to reach a deal with Lutzenkirchen, as the two agreed to terms the night the Draft concluded. The former Auburn Tiger decided to forego draft ambitions after his junior campaign to return for a senior season, which hurt his draft stock after Lutzenkirchen needed season-ending surgery halfway through the 2012 year. Sounds like he and Sam Bradford already have something in common. Lutzenkirchen’s receiving statistics at Auburn might not blow you away at first (59 receptions for 628 yards), but the Georgia-native has a knack for big plays averaging over 10 yards per catch and a nose for the end zone (14 touchdown receptions). He won’t be the most athletic tight end on the field, but Lutzenkirchen is a proven winner and has the experience to make a move for the third tight end spot on the Rams behind Lance Kendricks and Jared Cook. Just for seeing how the equipment manager squeezes his name on the back of Rams jersey, let’s hope that the former national champion at Auburn is donning Blue and Gold come the regular season.
Jonathan Stewart: LB, Texas A&M
In signing Stewart, the Rams have the potential to add a good-sized, speedy and versatile linebacker. Stewart was a four-year contributor at Texas A&M, and played everything from inside linebacker to outside linebacker in 4-3 and 3-4 schemes. His best year came as a senior, when Stewart recorded 81 tackles and 2.5 sacks in TAMU’s first year in the SEC. At 6’4”, Stewart doesn't’t have the fastest lateral movement as some of the other linebackers in the draft, but he has impressive straight-line speed that will help him get into opposing backfields faster than most. In a conference loaded with offensive weapons and fast quarterbacks, the Rams might look to Stewart as a depth linebacker that potentially disrupts backfields game in and game out. Stewart is not as athletic as Rams first-round pick Alec Ogletree, but may be able to cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield with his taller frame. It doesn't’t seem like Stewart will beat out any Rams players for a starting position, but his versatility in a variety of positions and schemes might just land him a spot on the roster as a depth linebacker.
Ray-Ray Armstrong: S, Miami
The signing of Armstrong by the Rams could be considered the “one to watch” as training camp progresses and cuts are made. There has been so much written and said about the former Miami safety, who was well on his way to a top pick in the NFL Draft two years ago before his off-the-field issues caught up with him. Armstrong had a spectacular 2010 season with the Hurricanes as a sophomore, but never really saw the field again as team rule violations and a connection in the booster –case involving Nevin Shapiro took him away from football. The fact that Armstrong hasn't’t played a game in almost a year and a half is a reason no team wanted to use a pick on him, but the fact that many teams went out to see his pro-day means that the talent potential is off the charts. At the top of his game in 2010, Armstrong was a lethal hitter from the safety position at 6’4” 215 pounds and was a ball-hawking defensive back. If Armstrong shows Rams coaches the flashes of brilliance that he was known for, he might be a player the Rams pencil in for a spot in the secondary. Coach Fisher is the perfect coach for a player who needs to “fix” his off-the-field problems, but he will have to show that potential quickly and demonstrate that he is ready to change his attitude. With his size and speed, the former Hurricane has as much talent as any other rookie in the NFL.
Training camp for the Rams opens in late July. With a number of open roster spots, we’ll see who is ready to bring it on and show the coaches that they belong.