The LA Rams need a new field leader on defense, a player capable of reading offensive formations, playing sideline to sideline, and defending both pass and run. That’s why the LA Rams use pick 80 to select Akeem Davis-Gaither, a linebacker from Appalachian State.
Davis Gaither is a 6-foot-1 224-pound linebacker who covers a lot of ground and brings a huge “thump” with him. The theme for many defenses today is outmaneuvering offenses, which demand speedy defenders. And Davis-Gaither is speedy indeed. But a foot injury prevented him from registering a 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine. And in the year with imperfect information and sparse collaboration among coaches and scouts, he falls to the LA Rams who have themselves traded back to the 80th pick.
Many project Davis Gaither to the outside in a 4-3 scheme, but he’ll get a look at multiple linebacker roles with the Rams defense. He’s a play-maker who truly does not fit the traditional role of an NFL defense. Whether he’s too small, too slow, too big, too inexperienced, there is an endless stream of excuses not to give him a chance. But as soon as you see what he can do on a football field, all reservations melt away.
He may not possess the ideal skillset for any one position, but he has so many things that he does well that he becomes a true disguise artist on a defense that plans to disguise its scheme. As such, he is the ideal rookie and deserves to hear his name called by the LA Rams first.