LA Rams Draft Big Board: Top 23 Edge rushers in 2022 draft class

Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Draft Tyree Johnson
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Round 5 Pick 175 (4)

The squeeze hits the LA Rams in the fifth round, as the talent begins to fall a bit.

Option I – Edge rusher Tyree Johnson from Texas A&M is another one of those players who has no consensus over where he will come off the draft board. At 6-foot-3 and 248-pounds, he projects most favorably into the NFL as an outside linebacker. Of course, analysts recommend a bit more muscle to handle the sheer physicality of setting the edge and turning the action back inside.

In 40 college games, he was certainly productive and developing on a positive trend. He recorded 100 tackles, 23.5 tackles for a loss, and 18.0 quarterback sacks, with more than a third occurring in his final season.  His bread and butter move is moving forward after the quarterback. He is and will continue to be a work in process in run defense and in pass coverage. But even limited as he is, he still has the potential to shine on special teams, and sub in for pass pressure packages.

He may fall to a later round, but I believe that he’s less likely to hear his name before Round 5.

873. NFL Draft Profile. Edge. 5. Draft Buzz. Texas A&M. Tyree Johnson. player

Option II – Edge rusher Zach VanValkenburg from the University of Iowa is one of those players who truly set the tempo for the Iowa defense. Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 263-pounds, he was the type of guy who would step up at key moments in the game to place the opposing offense into perilous down and distance situations.

He has enjoyed a productive career, turning 26 games into 94 tackles, 23.5 tackles for a loss, and 9.0 quarterback sacks.  While he has been productive, he simply does not stand out with any particularly brilliant athleticism, dimensions, speed, or power. Time spent with NFL trainers could unlock a speedier burst, more power, or even time with coaches could refine his technique.  Vanvalkenburg is very good at reading plays and being in the right place at the right time to frustrate offenses. He simply needs more time to help his body catch up.

Iowa. ZachVanValkenburg. 5. player. NFL Draft Profile. Draft Buzz. Edge. 878

Option III – Edge rusher Jeffrey Gunter from Coastal Carolina is the type of draft prospect who has everyone smiling and laughing at his press conferences. He is a highly athletic and highly productive pass rusher off the edge who can easily translate his game to either a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker.  And at 6-foot-4 and 258-pounds of pure power, he will do well in either role. He played 47 games for Coastal Carolina, amassing 169 tackles, 38.5 tackles for a loss, and 17.0 quarterback sacks.  He even deflected four passes and picked one pass off for an interception.

Because of his athleticism and infectious personality, he could be long gone by the time the LA Rams step up to the podium in Round 5, but he is still a work in progress. He has more than adequate coverage skills but will need work on shedding blockers and setting the edge ot shine in the NFL. I like this young man and would be happy to hear his name called by the LA Rams.

Option IV – Edge rusher Alex Wright from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is one of those prospects that just seems like he could land on the LA Rams roster. He hails from a lesser-scouted college football program, he has textbook dimensions and a productive college career that shows steady improvement.

Many project Wright into a defensive end role, but that is just a fast and loose assessment of his NFL role, not a mandate. He played outside linebacker at UAB for 31 games and chalked up 91 tackles, 19.0 tackles for a loss, and 11.5 quarterback sacks. He also deflected five passes, forced three fumbles, and recovered two fumbles.

He has a solid body of work in pass coverage and has the right size and instincts to frustrate quarterbacks and offensive coordinators because he can defend both receivers and throwing lanes. He compensates for his lack of speed by reading the play flow and being in the right place to make the play.

Draft Buzz. UAB. NFL Draft Profile. Edge. Alex Wright. 5. player. 2369

Okay, now for the meat of the LA Rams. Would you believe that the Rams have three picks in the sixth round?