For the third time during Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams addressed their need at linebacker by selecting Travin Howard out of TCU.
When taking into consideration how the Los Angeles Rams were looking to address their need at linebacker heading into the 2018 NFL Draft, to say they managed to do so would be a huge understatement. After using a seventh-round pick on Travin Howard out of TCU, this marks the third linebacker selected for the Rams on Day 3, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.
Defensive wise, Los Angeles has drawn heavy praise this offseason when it comes to their potential to being one of the best in the league, mainly due to Ndamukong Suh joining a defensive line that was already stacked thanks to the presence of Aaron Donald. Even with a new dynamic duo at cornerback in Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, the Rams’ defense clearly has all sorts of potential heading into 2018, but also the linebacker was the main area in need of improvement.
Losing Alec Ogletree to clear up some salary cap space seemed like a tough adjustment at the time a few months ago, but Los Angeles should be thrilled over this new group of young linebackers coming on board through the draft, including Howard. Whether it involves his ability to stop the run or simply the fact that he recorded 100+ tackles in each of the last three seasons at TCU, it’s easy to understand why the Rams made this selection.
Los Angeles never would have moved on from someone like Ogletree if they didn’t feel confident enough in bringing new talent on board this offseason for Wade Phillips to work with to make sure the unit lives up to the hype heading into 2018. After emerging out of nowhere last season to win the NFC West title after winning just four games the year before, the Rams now face the pressure of entering next season as one of the top Super Bowl contenders.
If Howard lives up to hype when it comes to the potential, this could end up being one of the best selections in the final round, as it will provide another example of just how great of a job Los Angeles continues to do in drafts during the Sean McVay era. As for Howard’s grade, a B- seems fair this late in the draft, right?