Rams Rookie Preview: Martin Ifedi, Defensive End


Martin Ifedi was the Rams final pick of this years NFL draft. He was selected in the seventh round with the 227th pick out of Memphis. Ifedi began his college career as a reserve defensive tackle, but switched to defensive end in the spring of 2012. That year he would start all 12 games at the end position and earned Second-team All Conference USA honors. Ifedi would continue to improve each consecutive year and in 2014 set a school record with 22.5 career sacks. He would also be named First-team All-AAC.

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A pick that fits the typical mold St. Louis has built on the defensive side of the ball. Have a high motor, be strong up the middle and focused on stopping the run. All things Ifedi does very well. Ifedi performed well at the combine posting a 4.8 40-yard dash, 4.5 in the 20-yard shuttle and 16 reps on the bench press.

May 8, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams defensive end Martin Ifedi (96) looks on during rookie minicamp at Rams Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Ifedi has the physical tools to be effective at the NFL level. The question is whether or not his game translates well to a 4-3 defense. His long arms allow him to get under opposing linemen and push them into a collapsing pocket. Ifedi excels at stopping the run and plays strong at the line of scrimmage. He finishes his tackles and has been highly regarded as an extremely intelligent prospect.

Inherently, players at this point in the draft carry some deficiencies. His biggest knock, his lack of a high gear. He’s been noted as a one speed player and fails to mix things up. In other words, he’s predictable, and in the NFL that won’t fly. Going back and viewing college game tape will reveal most of his sacks came on the second effort, or when quarterbacks hung around in the pocket too long. A sack is a sack, but most came in situations that would not present themselves in the pro game.

His lack of speed and true athleticism hurt his draft stock. What would have been a 5th or 6th round player was rated no better than the 7th and final round. Some analysts believed he would go undrafted and sign on as a free agent. Regardless, any player taken at this point in the draft is a flier at best. Ifedi may become an effective pass rusher in Gregg Williams defense, but with so many solid options for Williams right now we cant expect much from Ifedi. He will need to truly impress in camp to even make the roster, then we can talk if there is an opportunity to contribute during the regular season.