LA Rams DL talent still overflowing for 2021
By Bret Stuter
Another hybrid defensive end
The Rams signed another hybrid DE/OLB in Weber State’s Jonah Williams. Just like Michael Hoecht, this guy is a big powerhouse who can blaze. He runs a 4.65-second 40-yard dash and pumped 30-reps of 225 pounds. He was the player who committed to two-year missionary work, triggering two major schools to withdraw his scholarships. And he was a late bloomer, only measuring 6-foot-3 and weighing 230-pounds, which pulled him from many NFL scouting lists. But he can get to the quarterback in a flash.
Why he could see a larger role in 2021:
Since the Rams signed him from a small school, there is no doubt that they have vetted practically everything about him and love what they see as a fit for the defense. He is a big strong young man, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 275 pounds. In many ways, he is a younger and taller version of outbound defensive end Morgan Fox. He was projected as high as the fifth-round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but the depth of talent in the draft dropped him to an undrafted free agent signing for the Rams.
This young man is an athletic freak. He even leaps 35 inches off a dead stop. He is a dedicated young man who delivers what he commits to. Right now, he is very much committed to landing a role on the Rams defensive line. He keeps adding muscle. He graduated at 250-pounds. He drafted at 270-pounds, and he is now listed on the LA Rams roster at 275-pounds. He buries the needle for raw potential.
Why he won’t see a larger role in 2021:
The fact is that even in the best of circumstances, it’s challenging for an undrafted player to crack the 53-man roster. But coming to the NFL from a small school truly amplifies the work needed to get up to snuff. Williams has all of the speed and power, but must now refine his pass rush moves, work on his handwork and footwork. If he does not arrive at training camp with more polish and spit-shine to his game, he may be relegated to the practice squad again. But he may be ready.
The Rams pipeline is full of DL talent
The LA Rams wisely stockpiled the undrafted defensive line class of 2020 to give the team a small cavalry to come riding in to reinforce the troops in 2021. Not only does the team have a bevy of affordable players to reinforce the roster this year, but they were savvy enough to choose freakishly athletic players who needed more coaching.
Over the past year, that is exactly what they’ve done, coached up some incredible athletes. If the Rams do need to reinforce this group with more players, they can sign more even after the draft and restock the talent pipeline.
Yes, the Rams are two fewer starters from the 2020 defensive line, but they were smart enough to anticipate the losses and plan ahead with a good crop of talented players. Perhaps on another team, the players would not be coached-up enough to make a difference. Thankfully, the LA Rams continue to prove that they can develop the talent needed to fill their roster depth when need be. Right now, the Rams depth chart needs a boost. And you can be sure that these defensive linemen will give it.