While the St. Louis Rams are taking a look at several rookie offensive linemen, another potential wild-card remains in former Clemson offensive tackle Isaiah Battle.
Taken by the Rams in the fifth round of the NFL supplemental draft, the 6-foot-7, 290-pound Battle adds some intrigue to an incoming rookie offensive line class that already included second-round pick Rob Havenstein, third-round pick Jamon Brown, fourth-round pick Andrew Donnal and sixth-round pick Cody Wichmann.
By choosing Battle in the supplemental draft, the Rams had to surrender their fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft, a risk they felt comfortable taking.
“The guy is gifted, physically gifted,” Rams General Manager Les Snead said. “He was well on our radar. A little bit last year because there was talk maybe he might come out last year. Chose not to. He’s a guy that’d been on your radar, so you knew he had a chance depending on how he played this year.
Never miss a local story.
“He was gonna be a guy that you had to look and evaluate to see if he was an early prospect.”
Battle started 15 of 27 games at Clemson, but also dealt with some off-field issues and was suspended last season for a violation of team rules.
“He’s got some work to do,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Saturday. “As we told him it’s not about next September, it’s about this September. If he’s on the roster, if he’s on the 53, he’s a couple snaps away from playing so he’s got to get himself into shape.
“Thus far he’s done pretty good. He’s clearly behind the rest of the group just because he hasn’t been here, but in a short period of time I think he’s holding his own. We’ll see how it is over the next couple weeks.”
Snead is approaching 2015 as something of a redshirt season for Battle, who could potentially compete with rookie second-round pick Rob Havenstein at right tackle.
“Redshirt can sometimes mean if he makes the 53, that doesn’t mean you’ve got a jersey on game day,” Snead said of Battle. “Now, we’re all human. If the guy comes out and in a week says I’m the best ... I’m not gonna put a timeline on that but I think that’s what your rational expectations would be.”
Camp is in session
The Rams drew 1,440 fans Saturday on the second day of training camp and will offer another free training camp session at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at their team facility in Earth City, Mo.
Starter Nick Foles continued to get a lot of reps at quarterback while backups Austin Davis, Case Keenum and rookie quarterback Sean Mannion all got looks as well.
Since the Rams used one of two third-round picks on Mannion, the final backup job could be a battle between Davis and Keenum. The Rams had Keenum on their roster last season, allowed him to leave, then brought him back by trading a seventh-round pick in 2015 to Houston.
Davis started eight games and won three of them for the Rams last season, playing in 10 games overall. He threw for 2,001 yards and 12 TDs with nine interceptions.
“We’re going to allow them to play,” Fisher said. “Unfortunately for them, Nick’s going to probably get a few more reps early than he ordinarily would, particularly because he’s new in the offense. But we’re going to allow them all to play and compete and we’ll see what happens.
“Case has won games, Austin’s won games,” Fisher said. “They both have a good feel for what they’re doing and they’ve got a tall, slender rookie that’s breathing down their necks right now. It should be a good battle.”
Center Barrett Jones got a lot of reps with the first offensive unit Saturday and continues to battle Tim Barnes and second-year center Demetrius Rhaney. One of the top defensive plays Saturday was an acrobatic one-handed interception by Rams safety Rodney McLeod.
Injured players held out of practice were defensive end Chris Long (back), safety Mark Barron (knee) and cornerback Brandon McGee (foot).