Reeder to start in 2021?
Veteran Troy Reeder, and I cannot believe it myself, is the lone inside linebacker who has demonstrated durability and improvement over his two NFL seasons. After all, he is a 6-foot-3 245-pound behemoth who certainly has the right size and power to find success defending the heart of the Rams defense.
While he may not be the field-general type, he could prove to be a solid complement to rookie inside linebacker Ernest Jones. Jones does have amazing comprehension and has a long history of calling out the defense. Paired with Jones? That could prove to be quite formidable.
Even Pro Football Focus has noticed Reeder’s progress, upgrading his 2019 atrocious grade of 28.6 to a far more acceptable 2020 grade of 60.4. So how did he perform in the 2020 NFL Playoffs? He played his best football with a post-season grade of 62.7. Of course, that is not a guarantee of anything.
Reeder is a football legacy, as his father “Deleware Dan” Dan Reeder was a former running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has a passion for the game that keeps him prepared, keeps him ready, propelled himself onto the football field even as he was the last interior linebacker on the Rams’ bench.
If Troy Reeder’s progress is linear, his 2021 season will be outstanding. His ability to tackle will likely result in over 130 tackles in a 17-game season. His quarterback sack totals could climb into the 7.0-10.5 range. And his pass defense could stiffen into the 50-60 percent completion rate. Those are very good numbers, perhaps good enough to earn a place in Pro Bowl discussions.
On the other hand, Reeder may plateau long before elevating his game to such lofty production. But the Rams inside linebackers, despite playing behind Aaron Donald and one of the NFL’s best defensive lines, have not demonstrated resounding proficiency. Troy Reeder has actually been one of the better ones to step onto the football field. To earn a starting role, he will need to remain in position to make the play. Furthermore, he will need to ensure that he makes all of the tackles against any ball carrier in his grasp. Reeder could be on his way to earning a starting role on the Rams 2021 defense. To do so, he will need to have a career-high season.