LA Rams: Five most underrated moves of the 2021 offseason

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Leonard Floyd
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Re-signing OLB Leonard Floyd

Some claim that the Aaron Donald effect for the LA Rams is so significant that the team can play practically anyone at the outside linebacker position, and that player will perform at a better than average level. Perhaps. So far, the Rams have successfully breathed new life into the professional careers of both OLB Dante Fowler Jr. and OLB Leonard Floyd. Of the two, only Leonard Floyd was wise enough to dig in his heels and not go anywhere, even in an NFL market that was willing to pay a huge premium for an edge rusher.

Yes, there was more than likely more money to be had for Floyd if he held out for the biggest payday. But after Fowler Jr. signed on with the Atlanta Falcons in the 2020 NFL Free Agency market, only to fail miserably in their defensive scheme, Floyd chose the wiser path. Thankfully, the organization found the available funds to keep him in the horns.

Not all edge rushers are created equal. The spectrum of responsibilities of the outside linebacker is truly the make-or-break role of the 3-4 defensive scheme. Outside linebackers must set the edge of the defense and turn everything inside, provide pass coverage in the flat against running backs, tight ends, and wide receivers, turn and rush the quarterback, break up any screenplays, set in place to defend against misdirection or reverse plays, and be able to engage and shed blockers in time to make the play.

Some edge rushers can pin their ears back and get to the quarterback. In his first year with the LA Rams, Leonard Floyd displayed the ability to do it all, and do it well. While the 6-foot-5 240-pound veteran outside linebacker had a career-high season for the Rams with both quarterback sacks and tackles, the 2020 season effort only earned him a grade of 69.0 from Pro Football Focus.  Don’t let that fool you. Floyd is a solid complementary teammate for All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald. He is already paying dividends in the offseason by working closely with rookie outside linebacker Chris Garrett.

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He is not only the complete package off the edge, but he is a complete fit for the Rams’ needs at the position.