Could the LA Rams re-sign FA Troy Reeder as a pass rusher?
Sometimes you get the craziest notions for new articles from the oddest places. That doesn’t happen every day, but it did happen to me today, which prompted me to pause, ponder, and then admit that the idea does bear some fruit. The epiphany occurred when I posed a question about the LA Rams’ best options in the 2022 NFL Draft to a former contributor, John Vogel, and his response was rather provocative.
Don’t worry, I’ll cover his draft prospects in a future article. But for the moment, I’ll key on his afterthought. In the last sentence of his response, he suggests that the LA Rams move former ILB Troy Reeder to an outside linebacker role. Of course, Reeder is a free agent right now.
But then again?
Before everyone shoots down the idea, here is why this is an intriguing scenario. Troy Reeder may not have excelled on the LA Rams roster, but he is most certainly affordable. He has a good size to play a hybrid ILB/OLB role, as he stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 245-pounds. LA Rams starting outside linebacker Justin Hollins stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 248-pounds.
ILB struggles could be cause for OLB tryout
And while Reeder has struggled at times in the middle of the defense, he has a knack for getting after the quarterback. In fact, he has five quarterback sacks in just the past two seasons from the inside. But the biggest question is, could he make the transition to the outside?
I think there is a possibility. For starters, the inside linebacker must have his head on a swivel at all times, as traffic can arrive from any direction. Reeder seems to struggle at processing so much data instantly, so a move to the outside will help him attain a better focus and processing of what the offense is throwing at him.
Reeder has the NFL ability to defend passes, to set an edge. He can even rush the passer. The biggest question mark is his ability to stuff the run. But with a move to the outside, he can add a bit more muscle to get into the 255-260 pound range, and that would do wonders for his ability to turn the play inside.
Unconventional? Yes, but a high-reward low-risk option
Far fetched? I prefer to consider this simply as thinking outside of the box. Reeder would be an inexpensive option to re-sign with the team, and we’re talking about the 90 man roster here, not the 53-man version. What that means is that he will have a full training camp to train at the new position, and hopefully earn his way into the 53-man active roster.
In the worst-case scenario, the LA Rams invest some coaching time and a 90-man roster spot in an attempt to create a versatile ILB/OLB hybrid in Troy Reeder. In a best-case scenario, the coaches add a dirt-cheap rotational player at the outside linebacker position (a position that is alarmingly shallow), as well as retain an emergency inside linebacker for the team.
If we’ve learned anything about the LA Rams organization, we know that the team’s roster is heavily dependent upon developing younger players into rotational and starting roles. That includes coaching up undrafted rookie prospects as well. Nobody saw value in either Brian Allen or Joseph Noteboom after the 2019 NFL season, but both players are projected to start for the team in 2022.
Reeder may not excite many today. But if the Rams successfully cross-train him as an outside linebacker, he could be a significant contributor to the team this season. And perhaps even find himself sought after by NFL teams in the next free agency market.