We’ve just talked about the fact that LA Rams All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald is playing lights out for his entire seven-year NFL career. It’s been heavenly to have benefited from his incredible performance and production on the football field. But that also begs the question, just how long can this defensive juggernaut keep up this pace?
Well, now for an answer that I truly did not expect to be able to share so quickly. It could very well be that help is on the way, and his name is Bobby Brown. What? A rookie? Yes, one of those young football players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The last time that LA Rams defensive line coach Eric Henderson has a drafted rookie to work with was in 2019 when the LA Rams used the 134th pick of the 2019 NFL Draft to select defensive tackle Greg Gaines from the University of Washington. While Gaines has flashed brilliance at times, he is a blocker gobbler who cannot be moved backward. The only trouble is that he is so powerfully anchored, that he does not move forward very quickly.
A new Dawgwork disciple
New rookie defensive tackle Bobby Brown III is both muscular and powerful. He also sets a firmly entrenched fireplug in the middle of the defense that resists even the toughest blockers. But he does one thing very well that few can at his size and position. He can get to the quarterback.
“He could play whatever they want him to play. He could stuff the double team and the run. He can shed, he can make tackles in the game.”
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) May 12, 2021
One of the most undervalued characteristics of a rookie is his coachability. That comes down to the willingness of the young man to open his mind up to instruction, to a new way of doing things.
Any player selected to play in the NFL Draft has already passed the ‘Does he have enough talent to make it?’ criteria. Now, in the first year in the NFL, it’s the ability and willingness to learn how to play NFL football. And now he gets a chance to work with LA Rams defensive line coach Eric Henderson. And perhaps an even more important aspect is that Coach Henderson gets to work with him. And Henderson gets a chance to work with new assistant line coach Marcus Dixon.
The monster of the south
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He is just massive. A 6-foot-4 321-pound mound of muscle and sinew. He’s just 21in August 2021, so he still has some window of getting even bigger yet. Now, place who he is right now next to Aaron Donald on the football field, in the gym, and at the dinner table, and let him learn from the best in the NFL.
Not that Brown is a blank slate. He already understands the leverage required to excel as a defensive lineman. He uses that instinctive knowledge to shed blockers with ease and toss ball carriers to the ground like a sack of flour. Even so, he was judged as not playing with enough intensity.
He is the perfect rookie to learn from defensive line coach Eric Henderson. His ‘weaknesses’ include inefficient pass rush and a lack of energy level. Henderson is a supercharged super-energetic coach. He will bring that to Bobby Brown III, and the transformation will be like watching a sluggish caterpillar transform into an energetic butterfly.
Will he start in the season opener against the Chicago Bears? While unlikely, I wouldn’t rule it out. The Rams will need to line up someone next to Aaron Donald and Sebastian Joseph Day. Veteran A’Shawn Robinson was unable to answer the bell to start the 2020 NFL season. Will Bobby Brown III be able to make a difference? Well, you will certainly know his name by the end of this season