LA Rams defensive line ranked 3rd in 2019, and only squad to get better

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Pro Football focus ranked LA Rams defensive line 3rd best in 2019. With that news, the Rams DL is the only unit to get better this offseason

The LA Rams defensive line was special in 2019 and got even better this year. Other top-rated defensive lines cannot make the same claim.  The Pittsburgh Steelers tops on the Pro Football list, lost Javon Hargrave to the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency. The San Francisco 49ers traded away impact defensive lineman DeForest Buckner. And while the Philadelphia Eagles did add Javon Hargrave, the team lost defensive end, Vinny Curry, defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, and defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway.

All that being said, the LA Rams not only brought back defensive end Michael Brockers in a surprise move, but the team added powerful nose tackle A’Shawn Robinson to the line as well. By doing so, the Rams’ defensive line improved dramatically. That’s a huge plus to the Rams defense, which was already within striking distance of overtaking the 49ers this season before the re-signing of Brockers.

DC Staley needs powerful defensive linemen

With the hiring of new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, the blueprint for the defensive line is changing somewhat. The Staley/Fangio 3-4 focuses on the strong defensive linemen who can shift in alignment but continue to play two-gap responsibilities.  To do so, they must take on offensive linemen head-on and shed that blocker to either side to make the play on the ball carrier.  Since this will delay their pass rush somewhat, the defense looks to optimize the pass rush be getting elite pass-rushers to take up a position on both flanks of the offensive line.

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That’s the basic principle. Of course, there are stunts, blitzes, and plenty of variations. The Rams could go with a 3-3-5, a 4-3-4, or a 2-5-4 alignment. It’s all about the deception, the appearance of running one defense while actually defending the play in a completely different manner. The Rams will be moving All-Pro defensive back, Jalen Ramsey, all over the defensive backfield this year. While that will keep the quarterback confused, the team will rely upon the outstanding coverage of Troy Hill and the surprisingly effective play of teammate Darious Williams to frustrate receivers hoping for a mismatch. In the end, the LA Rams stand to make a huge statement this year.