LA Rams: 5 wish-list items for the defense in 2022
Item III: Inside linebacker
Rookie inside linebacker Ernest Jones had an overall good season for the LA Rams. Out of the entire rookie class of 2021, he was the lone player who eventually assumed a starting role for the team. He looks to be a bright spot for the LA Rams defense in 2022 and beyond. Outside of Ernest Jones, the LA Rams inside linebacker group is rather concerning, particularly for a team in hot pursuit of another Super Bowl run.
Veteran ILB Troy Reeder hits free agent after a season with rather mixed results, and he holds most of the experience at the position. The other immediate options are rather sparse and light on experience. The team will welcome back ILB Christian Rozeboom, who has been exclusively a special teamer so far. The LA Rams can also re-sign veteran ILB, Travin Howard, who is an ERFA and can be extended for a league minimum salary. The Rams will likely be choosing from either Rozeboom and Howard as the other starting inside linebacker for 2022.
The team also added 6-foot-3 226-pound Anthony Hines III, who has experience as both inside and outside linebacker, much like veteran Justin Hollins. But those moves to the inside are situationally dependent. The Rams could also opt for one of their hybrid safeties, like Antoine Brooks or Jake Gervase, to play one of the inside linebacker positions on passing downs.
After drafting Ernest Jones in the 2021 NFL Draft, the team will likely be shopping for inside linebackers once more in 2022. . Luckily for the front office, there are some intriguing LB prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft. Unlike past regimes, DC Raheem Morris seems to value and depend upon greater production from the ILB position. That is why the team drafted Ernest Jones and could send them back to the draft to shop once more.
Of course, the team could decide that Rozeboom or Howard are the best solutions at inside linebacker. After all, they have been with the team for the longest period of time. That will not resolve the team’s need for greater depth at the position. Even in a scenario where the LA Rams have Reeder, Rozeboom, and Howard, inside linebacker is one of the weaker positions on the team.