3 teams claim LA Rams DE Jonah Williams, a member of unique 2020 UDFA class
Rams UDFA class of 2020 was incredibly gifted
Williams is the second undrafted free agent defensive lineman who was released then immediately claimed by another NFL team. Former teammate defensive lineman Eric Banks was released but originally signed on with the Los Angeles Chargers. Banks is a 6-foot-5 270-pound defensive lineman who played three games for his former defensive coordinator before his release. The Detroit Lions claimed him off waivers from the Chargers.
A third such defensive lineman, 6-foot-4 275-pound defensive lineman Sam Renner was released by the LA Rams in 2020 but signed on with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2021 NFL season. He was injured in August 2021 and was released by the Buccaneers with an injury settlement.
The lone remaining player from that group who remains with the LA Rams is defensive lineman Michael Hoecht. Hoecht is a 6-foot-4 310-pound speedster who was originally a former running back. He has also appeared in all eight games for the Rams and has played 100 defensive snaps and 91 special team snaps. He can motor, folks. His 40-yard dash time is a blazing fast pace of 4.60-seconds, faster than some running backs and receivers.
So it comes down to nature versus nurture. In short, do NFL players succeed thanks to good genetics? Or does it come down to good positive coaching? While there is certainly a solid case to be made that a 5-foot-5 125-pound athlete will not hold up long to the rigors of playing in the NFL, how much difference is there among players who all start at 6-foot-4 and taller, particularly when it comes to the trenchwork with little to no fame, praise or headlines for the effort?