LA Rams DL talent still overflowing for 2021
By Bret Stuter
Time to step up
So it comes down to who will step up if-and-when the need and opportunity present themselves? Well, the Rams have two significant roles to fill on the defensive line. But to be honest, the team had a huge backlog of talent, so much so that I expected the team to trade one of the younger players for draft picks. Who are these young defensive linemen? And what about them makes the Rams confident enough to risk their season on their ability to play?
Well, there is no quick answer here. So let’s jump right into it. The Rams had abundant talent at the defensive line in 2020. The Rams will always get an All-Pro performance from DL Aaron Donald, and NT Sebastian Joseph Day skyrocketed in his play in 2020. Two starters, two great players. Now, what about the other defensive end position?
Well, the Rams planned to fill that role in similar circumstances in 2020 with the addition of A’Shawn Robinson. At that time, both Morgan Fox and Michael Brockers were free agents. Robinson was a big-bodied versatile lineman who could line up anywhere on the defensive line. It made sense for him to take up the nose tackle role and put Donald and SJD at defensive ends.
With Brockers and Fox returning, the Rams clearly emphasized a rapid rotation and strong play up front from the Rams three-man defensive front. New defensive coordinator Brandon Staley clearly had one hand on the wheel, because to an outsider, it seemed like the Rams overloaded on defensive linemen in 2020 at the expense of linebacker depth. But that gamble paid off handsomely, as the Rams boasted a top-rated defense in the NFL. But where does that leave us now?