I hope everyone had an awesome 4th of July weekend. Rams news has been a bit slow on my twitter feed, so I hope this can be some food for thought for the rest of the Rams fans.
Its no secret that the St. Louis Rams are in desperate need of a WILL linebacker. Its OLB play last season was terrible – running backs burned defenders on the outside runs and pass catchers were basically unchallenged by the outside ‘backers.
The only OLB’s of interest listed on the roster are Chris Chamberlain, David Vobora, Larry Grant, Na’il Diggs, Bryan Kehl, and rookie Jabara Williams. All, with the exception of the veteran Diggs and Vobora, have not had extended playing time, leaving question marks around their capability of shoring up the weakside. Plus all have been unable to make statements while on the field. With Diggs most likely holding down the strongside, the front office can be looking to add some new bodies via free agency.
One possibility is UDFA Mark Herzlich. Herzlich battled with cancer to come back last season and post up decent numbers. Pior to Herzlich’s health issues, he was a top-level linebacker prospect. The Rams can roll the dice and ink him to a fairly cheap deal to see what this guy is made of. Plus, he can also add depth to both outside linebacker positions – Herzlich has good size at 6’4, 247.
Another potential free agent is Oakland’s Thomas Howard. Howard is big (6’3, 240), relatively young (27), has decent speed to keep up with the pass catchers in the middle, and is tough enough to help out with the run. Another reason he might be an attractive option is his price; Howard will not likely command big free agent money.
Of course, the NFL’s labor situation needs to get fixed before any help can be obtained. Lets hope this thing gets fixed quick!