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Former Virginia QB Bryce Perkins in line for practice squad spot with Rams

Former Virginia QB Bryce Perkins in line for practice squad spot with Rams

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Rams Football

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins throws at practice in Thousand Oaks, California.

After elating Virginia fans with blinding speed, quick feet and a strong arm, Bryce Perkins went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Despite solid production and elite athleticism, Perkins slipped out of the draft due to questions about his consistency as a passer.

UVa fans, and Bronco Mendenhall, felt the quarterback went overlooked. Shortly after the draft, however, Perkins’ ability generated interest from NFL teams. He signed with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent.

Typically, undrafted free agents use the preseason to showcase their abilities in hopes of making a 53-man roster. Unfortunately for Perkins, changes sparked by COVID-19 led to the cancellation of all preseason contests this season.

With NFL teams needing to trim their rosters down to 53 players by Saturday at 4 p.m., Perkins sits on the outside looking in, according to prominent Los Angeles Rams beat reporters.

ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry projects Jared Goff as the starter and John Wolford as the backup. She only expects the Rams to keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man squad.

The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue predicts the same.

Rodrigue added in a recent article that she expects Perkins to be one of the Rams’ four protected practice squad players.

The protected designation, which was added as part of a few COVID-19-related rule changes, means opposing teams won’t be able to sign Perkins if he joins the Rams’ practice squad.

That would give Perkins a chance to develop in Los Angeles’ system this season, while standing by should players miss time with injuries or COVID-19.

Eric Williams, a reporter for Sports Illustrated, tweeted Saturday that “Bryce Perkins has some juice.” When asked how he looked at a Saturday scrimmage, Williams responded with one word: “Fast.”

Even so, Williams told a few UVa fans in his mentions that he doesn’t see Perkins taking the No. 2 spot from Wolford. He sees Perkins as a practice squad candidate.

Most projections place Perkins as the Rams’ third quarterback option. Head coach Sean McVay could surprise the experts by keeping three quarterbacks on the active roster, but Perkins looks the part of a practice squad candidate ahead of Saturday’s cuts.

On the plus side for Perkins, the Rams recently released fellow undrafted rookie free agent Josh Love to give Perkins a closer look. He has the inside track to making the practice squad at quarterback.

“Bryce has done a nice job,” McVay said. “He’s earned the right to be able to get a couple more reps and for us to evaluate him.”

Goff, who recently signed a four-year contract extension worth more than $130 million, is a lock to be named the Week 1 starter.

Behind Goff, McVay likes Wolford.

The third-year professional quarterback out of Wake Forest spent last season on the Rams’ practice squad, so he has more experience in McVay’s system than Perkins. Wolford also possesses decent mobility, with McVay even comparing him to Doug Flutie, according to an article from ESPN’s Thiry.

While Perkins doesn’t have the inside track to making the 53-man roster, COVID-19 raises his chances of joining the squad at some point this season.

Positive tests could put players on the sideline for weeks at a time, which could lead to Perkins being called up from the practice squad.

Even if Perkins doesn’t land on the 53-man roster Saturday, it’s not out of the question that UVa’s former star quarterback lands on the roster at some point in 2020. At the very least, the Rams liked him the most of their 2020 undrafted quarterback signings. That was made clear after they released Love.

No preseason games likely prevents Perkins from making a run at the backup quarterback job, but Perkins’ mobility should be enough to keep him on the Rams’ team in some capacity, even if it’s serving as a practice squad quarterback.

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