5 LA Rams players the team must re-sign for 2021
By Bret Stuter
Edge of disaster
The LA Rams signed edge rusher Derek Rivers late in the season, but he showed elements of a solid fit. A defensive end by trade, he was ushered into the Rams defense as an EDGE rusher. For the LA Rams, that means outside linebacker. And for an outside linebacker, that means pass coverage.
Yeah. About that. Pass coverage? Umm… what?
And that was the problem for Rivers arriving in the month of December 2020. No crash course would give him the wherewithal to defend the pass in the LA Rams complex and multi-layered coverage schemes. So his playing time was very specific to the down and distance where the Rams could set him up to rush the quarterback, set the edge, and stop the run.
Rivers is young. And at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, he has all the potential to create havoc in pass coverage with long lanky arms and long strides. But at the moment, he is unfamiliar and untrained for all of that. He was a hand in the dirt player who has the right specs to become more versatile in his NFL career.
Edge rushers do not come cheaply, and the LA Rams are limited in free-market options with a tight budget. Rivers is familiar with the Rams coaches, scheme, and players. The worst is over. He’s arrived and acclimated to Los Angeles. He is familiar with the LA Rams organization. And most of all, he has skillsets that the Rams need for 2021.