Rams Camp Guy of the Year: Xavier Smith
I’m not sure why, but I always have a ‘guy’ I root for at camp. He has to meet certain criteria. He is always smaller than average. There is always a chance that he misses the 53-man roster. And he usually comes from a small school or HBCU. But most importantly, he practices with tenacity, urgency, and the right amount of swagger. This year my guy is Xavier Smith, a rookie wide receiver.
Smith checks all the boxes. He is 5’9″ and 174 lbs. He went to Florida A&M University. Given the fact that wide receiver is the only position the Rams have legit depth at, his road to the 53-man roster is rough, to say the least.
In his final season at FAMU, Smith caught 87 passes for 1024 yards and 11 touchdowns in 11 games. He was named to the HBCU First-team All-American in his senior year. At the HBCU Combine, he ran a 4.48 40-yard dash with an impressive 2.52 20-yard split. That’s .01 seconds faster than the 2023 first-rounder, Zay Flowers. He also posted a 4.16 shuttle, which is rated by Relative Athletic Score as elite.
I had to question my pick last week because I have a bias for #19. It was worn by Brandon Powell last year. He was ‘my guy’ last season. But in the last few practices, there was some evidence that the new 19 is my kind of guy.
Xavier Smith played in the final 11-on-11 session of the day with Dresser Winn as quarterback. He was targeted on four of the five passing attempts. He also made some impressive catches from Stetson Bennett This is evidence that the Rams coaching staff sees the potential that I see. He also worked with the special teams returners at camp. I won’t make any pronouncements at this time, except that I am naming Xavier Smith, Skinny T’s Rams Camp Guy! Whatever that’s worth.
His most direct path to the final roster is as a return specialist. The Rams players that have also taken reps at the spot are Puka Nacua, Kyren Williams, and Austin Trammell. None have sub- 4.5 speed. FAMU also used him in the position. Smith will likely get a chance to make his case in the Rams preseason games. He and Trammell will be returning kicks and punts in those games. A good showing will go a long way toward making the roster.
Even then, the math is difficult. The Rams went into the 2022 season with six receivers. They currently have 12 on the roster.