Just one short year ago, the LA Rams poached ILB/OLB Justin Hollins off the waiver wire of the Denver Broncos. A short year later, he’s the projected starter opposite veteran Leonard Floyd. The Rams needed reinforcements at the outside linebacker position, and Hollins was as good as the cavalry riding over the crest of a nearby ridge.
Much like veteran Leonard Floyd, the 6-foot-5 248-pound Justin Hollins is tall and lanky. That’s a huge advantage because long arms can prove to be devastatingly effective as the long arc around the protective pocket strikes paydirt with a long reach that brings down the quarterback. That’s something that most offensive tackles simply cannot prevent.
Hollins was a late addition to the LA Rams roster in 2020, and as such, it required some time to get up to speed in order to be inserted into the rotation. He did see some defensive snaps in all 16 games, as well as action on special teams. After the bye week, it was clear that he was landing nearly half of the available defensive snaps, and he sustained that role for the remainder of the season.
While the Rams will undoubtedly rotate Hollins among other outside linebackers, his dependability is what landed him the starting role in 2021. But to keep the pole position, he’ll need to up his game and prove to be worthy of the top spot. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo had a great camp, and if he stays healthy could be an early-season challenge. If the Rams keep Chris Garrett on the roster, he could develop into a true challenge late in the season. And if Terrell Lewis’ knee gets under control, he is too talented to sit on the bench.
Right now, Justin Hollins is the starter. And just like the king of the hill, he will remain there until somebody outplays him.