The Los Angeles Rams cut four more players, reaching the 80-player requirement before August 16. Linebackers Daniel Bituli and Greg Reaves, running back James Gilbert and defensive end Sam Renner were cut on August 1. All were undrafted free agents. The Rams also cut four players on July 26. In addition to the cuts, offensive lineman Chandler Brewer opted out of playing this year.
As the new kids on the block, Bituli, Gilbert, Reaves and Renner were the unfortunate victims of the league’s Coronavirus pandemic reduction policy, although there may have been other reasons they were waived. The Rams also need to cut the roster to 53 by September 5.
Gilbert was set behind a loaded running back corps that lost star running back Todd Gurley earlier in the year. With rookie Cam Akers, veteran Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson and John Kelly in front, he had little chance to see any playing time during the season. Even on the practice squad, Gilbert would have competed with rookie Xavier Jones for a chance to play on the active roster.
Gilbert may have been cut due to being one of the smaller running backs. He had great numbers for his collegiate career, ranking 10th among active players in career rushing yards. His best season was his sophomore year at Ball State where he ran for 1,332 yards and 12 touchdowns. He suffered a season-ending injury in 2017, allowing him to medical redshirt the season. Gilbert was then able to graduate from Ball State and transfer to Kansas State to play his final year in a power conference.
In 2019, Gilbert had 737 rushing yards and six touchdowns. The Rams front office saw something in his skillset that would have helped their running back by committee approach for 2020. Gilbert is a power runner who breaks tackles and has decent speed. He may still be picked up by another team’s practice squad.
Bituli was Tennessee’s star tackler for the last three seasons. In 2019 he earned 88 tackles (five for a loss), three sacks, one forced fumble and a blocked kick. Bituli has 266 collegiate career tackles.
His physique and power are ideal for an NFL linebacker, but the Rams may have wanted more talent in coverage. Bituli was up against other UDFAs like Christian Rozeboom and Bryan London, II. With the linebacker corps featuring returning potential inside starters Micah Kiser, Troy Reeder, Travin Howard. as well as, rookie Clay Johnston, Bituli may have been expendable. He is a talented linebacker and may land on another team.
Reaves is a success story at the University of South Florida having walked on to much success. He earned a career 209 tackles (30 for a loss) and eight and a half sacks. Reaves played linebacker for most of his time at USF and moved to defensive end in his senior year.
On the Rams, he was behind a deep lineup of outside linebackers with veterans Samson Ebukam and Leonard Floyd, as well as, Justin Lawler, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Natrez Patrick, rookie Terrell Lewis and Jachai Polite. He would have remained on the practice squad for a while but did have great potential with his speed and tackling fundamentals. In the following weeks, there may be a team interested in placing him on their practice squad or in a reserve role.
Renner led the University of Minnesota in sacks in 2019. Although he only started on the defense in his senior season, Renner had 43 tackles (eight for a loss), five sacks, four passes defended and one fumble recovery.
Even at 6’4,” 275 pounds, Renner came in to an already loaded veteran defensive line featuring Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, A’Shawn Robinson, Sebastian Joseph-Day, and Morgan Fox. He was also competing for time on the field with fellow rookies Eric Banks, Michael Hoecht and Jonah Williams. Greg Gaines and Marquise Copeland will also be looking for playing time in 2020. Renner is good at moving along the line and following the run. He is a solid tackler. Some team will most likely pick him up soon for a reserve role.
The Rams are losing smart players who can also apply their wit and work ethic to the football field. Gilbert, Reaves and Renner are all pursuing master’s degrees, so their future shows great potential. All four have great attitudes, as well as, athletic talent and may not be finished in the league just yet. Now, it is a waiting game to see which Rams players are cut next before the season starts.