Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd is the right player for the LA Rams needs in 2020. But it will be up to Floyd himself to validate that need, and prove to the Rams that both the role he will fill as well as he as the player are integral components to the success of this defense. How will it all play out? That’s what we are here to find out.
The LA Rams signed former Chicago Bears outside linebacker Leonard Floyd in free agency, and analysts immediately compared him to outside linebacker Clay Matthews. Days later, Matthews was cut by the team, indicating that the Rams sign Floyd as a younger replacement for Matthews, and not to take over for outgoing free agent Dante Fowler Jr. While that seemed a bit disorienting at first, the LA Rams’ strategy seemed to take focus when the team landed outside linebacker Terrell Lewis in the 2020 NFL Draft. Lewis was often compared to the Rams Fowler by analysts.
A younger version, but is he as effective?
So in one year, the Rams got far younger and less expensive at the outside linebacker roles. But will the two new players be as effective? In the case of Floyd, he has one shot. When the LA Rams signed up Floyd, they did so with a one-year prove-it deal. That’s the deadline. Floyd has one-year to show up big on this Rams’ defense, or find another team to pick up his option.
Floyd was not a shot-in-the-dark signing. He was coached by Staley with the Chicago Bears, and it was likely that connection which persuaded the Rams to bring him aboard. After all, he is the linebacker leadership all but vacant in the room for the Rams right now. And he knows the new system, which means he has a huge advantage in 2020. Previously, Floyd played as the straight man to the Bears’ pash rushing Khalil Mack. This year, he will have a more balanced role in both pass rushing and coverage. Can he deliver? Many of his former coaches believe that he can. The Rams are not as confident, forcing Floyd to deliver in 2020 before making a longer-term commitment.