How can UDFA rookie DT Michael Hoecht make the LA Rams 2020 roster?
The LA Rams saw something special when they signed up defensive tackle Michael Hoecht immediately following the 2020 NFL Draft. Of course, anyone who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 290 pounds is awfully difficult to ignore. But the Rams are saturated at the defensive line position this year, right?
After all, the team picked up free agent A’Shawn Robinson, re-signed outgoing veteran defensive lineman Michael Brockers, and even re-signed defensive end, Morgan Fox. So in the numbers game, there doesn’t seem to be much room for Hoecht to make this roster. So why did the Rams go the distance to sign him up?
Well, perhaps it was that college production? That was pretty impressive for a defensive tackle who played 37 games in college. Not only did he get to the quarterback for 16.5 sacks, but he created 174 tackles and 29.5 tackles-for-losses. Keep in mind that Hoecht is an interior defensive lineman. That’s certainly enough to warrant some interest, right?
But the likely reason is this guy can MOVE! At his size and weight, and he hits a 4.6-seconds for his 40-yard dash time? That’s a good as running backs.
It just so happens that he is a former high school running back, who now plays an interior defensive line. But he is more than a big fast guy. His 25 reps at 225 -pounds prove he has a bit of power as well. So he’s big, strong, fast, and productive? Now the image of why the Rams signed him up is starting to come into focus.
Oh, the possibilities!
What can the Rams coaching staff do with a guy like Michael Hoecht? As a rookie, he is likely already making special teams coordinator John Bonamego sit on the edge of his seat in anticipation. A big guy who can hustle down the field and tackle? That combination alone virtually assures that Hoecht will make the team for special teams alone. But when a huge guy has the strength, speed, and versatility like Michael Hoecht, you can bet other coaches are eager to see what he can do as well.
But he has the ability to play at all three of the team’s defensive line positions as well. And as a rookie with tremendous upside, he will push hard for defensive snaps. He even has an option to play some offensive snaps as well, as his background at running back could cook up some interesting offensive plays for head coach Sean McVay and offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell. In fact, a player with so many talents and the versatility to impact the game in all three phases of the game is a smart addition. In fact, it will be up to the coaches to harness all that talent this year.