Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Each year the LA Rams attempt to reset their roster by ensuring that there are enough veterans to ensure NFL-caliber starters at all positions. Then, whenever and wherever possible, the LA Rams front office drafts rookies who are either very raw but very talented, or who have far better collegiate production than expected.
Conveyor belt? Assembly line? Or simply basic survival in the NFL? However you term it, the LA Rams have done an incredible job of remaining extremely competitive each year without the benefit of first-round draft picks or an abundance of salary-cap space. Some believe that the LA Rams front office is all about buying victories through the NFL Free Agency market. But if you check the track record, the LA Rams stock their rotational players either through the trade market, or coach up their players from within.
Okay. Let’s assume that I’m onto something here. That would mean that the Rams will undoubtedly be looking to coach up young players into starters this season. So which of the Rams veterans may be at risk? We believe these four are at risk of losing their starting jobs to rookies this year.
While you may expect veteran punter Riley Dixon as engaged in a 50/50 punter competition, and not as a veteran starter who is at risk of losing his starting position, I’m going with him here because he is a veteran NFL punter, he was signed to a contract, and the Rams front office signed an undrafted rookie to compete for the position by the name of Cameron Dicker out of Texas.
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Dixon is a consistent performer, which is what the LA Rams are seeking. The challenge is that he has plateaued below the Top-10 punters in the NFL. So while he can do everything asked of him, he will not deliver much in the way of upside. That may be exactly what the Rams are looking for.
In an old television series “Kung Fu,” David Carradine is challenged to take a pebble from his Dojo’s sensei’s hand. If he can do so, he is ready to leave and seek his own fate. Dixon is the Rams’ equivalent of stealing a pebble from the hand. If and when Cameron Dicker outplays Dixon, he will earn the right to become the LA Rams starting punter.
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