LA Rams OLB Hollins proves DC Staley knows the edge

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams signed OLB Hollins off waivers from the Denver Broncos, proving DC Brandon Staley knows edge players

The LA Rams allowed one vacancy on the 53-man roster after inside linebacker Travin Howard began the season on injured reserve.  While many expected the Rams to sign an inside linebacker, the Rams front office had other ideas. Rather than reinforce the middle of the defense, the Rams were guided to search the waiver wire for players who could reinforce the edge of the defense.

The Rams ended their search as the Denver Broncos released ILB/OLB Justin Hollins. The Rams signed him, and the 53-man roster was filled. At the time, the addition of Hollins seemed to have more special teams than special player about it. Well, that’s not exactly how it turned out after all. In fact, few could have expected that it would turn out as well as it has.

Hollins stars in Staley’s defense

The hope was that Hollins could tap his familiarity with defensive coordinator Brandon Staley’s scheme. Instead, the Rams landed one of the key contributors to their defense. On a team with Leonard Floyd, Samson Ebukam, Jachai Polite, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Terrell Lewis, it’s the play of Justin Hollins off the edge that has sacked the quarterback three times. Only Floyd has more so far.

Hollins has been earning an ever-increasing share of the Rams defensive snaps with great play. It’s safe to expect he’ll play even more after the game he had against the Arizona Cardinals.

Keep in mind that the Rams had a limited number of draft picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, and limited funds to attract free agents.

Rams find a future star

Hollins plays both defense and special teams. Although the Rams had drafted Terrell Lewis, the team will face losing both Leonard Floyd and Samson Ebukam to NFL Free Agency due to expiring contracts. While Floyd has been outstanding, he has likely popped up on the radar of defense needy teams and will likely be offered a handsome contract.

The ascension of Hollins to a starting-caliber outside linebacker truly helps the Rams in several ways. Not only is it critical for the 2020 season, but it takes a lot of pressure off the front office to find another edge rusher who can start next season in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Next. 10 reasons to believe in this LA Rams offense and QB Goff. dark

LA Rams Justin Hollins may not be a superstar just yet, but he outplayed all but one NFL star edge rusher in week 13. We’ll have four more regular-season games to determine if he truly is a future star for this defense. From what we’ve seen so far, he certainly shows plenty of promise. If Hollins pans out, he will join the likes of DB Darious Williams as a defensive star who was recycled from the waiver wire from another team.