LA Rams Camp Showdown V: Michael Hoecht vs. Ernest Brown IV

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Michael Hoecht
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The Can-Am connection

It’s pretty clear that the LA Rams have focused upon athleticism, special teams play, and finding versatile players. Funny that, because they found all of those qualities in 2020 when they signed defensive lineman Michael Hoecht to the roster after the draft. A native son of Canada, he earned his NCAA football reputation with a solid showing at Brown University. Now, he is aiming at the NFL.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

If you recall, Hoecht was a 6-foot-5 310-pound defensive lineman who offered it all: athleticism, special teams play, and versatility, but did so in a year without the time required to fully assess, understand, and develop such a talented player. Instead, the team redshirted him as well as other talented defensive linemen to stockpile in safekeeping for a season with a fully functioning offseason training program. That is 2021, and we should now see just what all of the fuss was about one year ago.

After all, this is a guy who runs a 4.6-second 40-yard dash. He is powerful, fast, and has been working for a year with the defensive line unit. In OTAs so far, he looks every bit the part of a Rams defensive lineman.

His workouts are crisp and efficient, as you can see for yourself by watching number 96 in this defensive lineman drill. But note just how big and powerful he is as he steps through the drill like a choreographed dance.

Hoecht is not the most polished player in the NFL yet, but he certainly brings a wide world of hurt as potential. Not only can he play in any defensive line position, but he has the athletic chops to stand up for an edge role, and even revitalize his running back days from high school as a trick play power back on offense for short yardage plays or even to punch one over the goal line.

He is the NFL’s version of a Lego set because his usefulness is only limited by time and the coaching staff’s imagination. While 310 pounds is quite useful in anchoring the center of the defensive line, we know that Aaron Donald is most effective when he can pick his spots. That means that whoever he taps must be ready to play in his role.  Hoecht can do that. In fact, Hoecht’s speed gives him enough versatility to compete for any number of roles.