6 surprise starters from LA Rams first depth chart

Mandatory Credit: John McCoy-USA TODAY Sports
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LA Rams News Rams depth chart Troy Reeder
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Inside linebacker

The more I line up Troy Reeder‘s progress with the LA Rams so far, the more similarities I notice between his career and that of Cory Littleton. Reeder is 6-foot-3 and weighs 245-pounds. Littleton is 6-foot-3 and weighs 228-pounds. Reeder is entering his third NFL season and has earned a starting role after two seasons of partial starts. Littleton got his first chance to start after two seasons on the bench and special teams play. Neither player was drafted.

It took three years before Littleton showcased the abilities that would lead to a Pro Bowl season. This is Troy Reeder’s third season. Should we expect a similar surge of NFL production from him? Perhaps. Over the past two seasons, Reeder has been thrown into the fire, so to speak. In 2019, he was promoted after an injury to a teammate and demonstrated enthusiasm, but not much in the way of refined NFL inside linebacker skillsets. In 2020, there was no training camp to speak of, nor preseason games, and so all of the experience from 2019 was infused into the minimal drills and practices.  Once more, he was promoted due to a teammate’s injury. Only this time, his 2020  Pro Football Focus score improved dramatically. He even seemed to play better in the playoffs.

Now, there is nothing that suggests that Reeder can duplicate the same career track of Littleton. But there is also nothing that suggests that he cannot. It’s far too easy to consider a player’s early attempts to star in the NFL and base the opinion of that player solely upon those early struggles. But that’s not how it works for NFL rotational players, starters, or superstars. All face struggles at some point in their career, and learn to overcome them. That is the point that Troy Reeder now faces in his own career.

Troy Reeder has the ideal size and weight to be a very disruptive force in the midst of the LA Rams defense. He proved that he can blitz very effectively, putting up three sacks against Washington in one game.  But his 30 completions against 39 targets is a promising improvement. Reeder was out of position on some plays in 2020. He seemed to struggle against the New York Jets, allowing their winless team to attain and build on positive momentum. But now is the time for him to learn from those mistakes, and play a much better brand of football. Cory Littleton did so. Clearly, the Rams coaches feel that Troy Reeder can too.