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LA Rams: 3 Defensive players playing for their big payday in 2021

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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Tanzel Smart will need to become the immovable force

DL Tanzel Smart is a big heavy defensive tackle. Smart played college football at Tulane University and was a sixth-round draft selection in 2017.

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His best season, as a pro, was his rookie season. He made 14 total tackles while appearing in all 16 regular-season games. He has not come close to matching those numbers in the past two seasons.

Not only he is playing for his next contract but he might be playing for his roster spot. It is tough to see the field when you play behind a great like Donald. You have to stand out from the crowd to make an impression.

Smart could possibly make waves at nose tackle. At 6-foot-1 and 295 pounds, he is the equivalent of an Aaron Donald “mini-me”.  Stacked and powerful, he can fit the role of the immovable force in the center of the Rams defensive line. Quickness off the line of scrimmage is the key to winning the battle inside the trenches.

Smart signed a 4-year rookie contract worth $2,564,783. According to, he is scheduled to make $776,198 in 2020. So far, he is overpaid for his statistical performance.

Smart will have to dramatically elevate his game. A position move inside might fit him best. This upcoming season will determine his next payday.

Here is the high profiled corner looking for a big pay raise.