LA Rams bolster pass rush, claim ex-Jets OLB John Daka

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

From the discard pile of the New York Jets, the LA Rams made a move on Tuesday to augment their pass rush by claiming OLB John Daka off the waiver wire. The Rams have now filled 89 roster spots. There is one remaining roster spot left to fill.

The 6-foot-2, 227-pound Daka is a former undrafted free agent out of James Madison who was signed by the Baltimore Ravens in 2020 but never saw the field last year with the team. After he became a roster-cut casualty of the Ravens in August, he signed a reserve future contract with the Jets in January. But the Jets released Daka shortly after the conclusion of this year’s NFL draft.

The Jets had a logjam of defensive linemen so it would have been tough for Daka to find much playing time there, either. He registered 27.5 sacks, 137 tackles, 47.5 tackles for a loss, four pass defenses, one fumble recovery, and six forced fumbles in 51 games in his collegiate career.

Noteworthy recognition at college

Daka was named the Dukes’ Defensive MVP as well as a first-team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection and a second-team Associated Press All-American in 2019. He helped his team win a conference title and make an appearance in the  Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, formerly known as Division I-AA)  Championship Game as well.

Daka earned a bit of notoriety when he signed with the Ravens because he became the first person of Zambian descent to ever sign with an NFL team.

He is expected to add depth to a stout Rams defensive unit that lost some of its key components last season when the Rams traded their starting linebacker Michael Brockers to Detroit and Morgan Fox, Derek Rivers, and Samson Ebukam departed the club via free agency.

Although Daka is considered to be a bit undersized to be a true edge defender, he plays with a  single-minded, attacking demeanor and has a high motor and drive to pressure opposing quarterbacks. The Rams may work with him in a two-point stance this season, and he can also contribute to the Rams’ special teams squad.

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He will have to prove himself in training camp, however, in order to earn a roster spot, as head coach Sean McVay has repeatedly stressed he wants some intense competition to take place at every position across the entire roster.