Round 6 Picks 212, 213, or 219 (4)
The LA Rams have three picks in Round 6 of the 2022 NFL Draft to address outside linebacker
Option I – Edge rusher Amare Barno from Virginia Tech is one of the players whose draft stock skyrocketed after the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine. He is a tall – 6-foot-5 – and long-limbed prospect who weighs -246-pounds – the part of an outside linebacker for an NFL role if he packs on about 10 more pounds of muscle.
He is an athletic freak and has used that raw and partially harnessed athleticism to simply outclass college opponents. But he will need to refine many of those raw energies to find success in the pros, and his 2021 season did not show further refinement or improvement.
He will attract a lot of interest, but when? The LA Rams could transform him into a productive pass rusher if he falls to them. He has so much buzz that some have him off the board early in Round 3. I don’t, but not sure if he will last until Round 6.
Option II – Edge rusher Luigi Vilain from Wake Forest is a tale with two chapters. In 2019 and 2020, he played six games for the Michigan Wolverines and truly did not look the part of an NFL prospect. But his 2021 season with Wake Forest showed a completely different side to the 6-foot-4 255-pound edge defense. Now, NFL teams must ask: Will the real Luiji Vilain stand up?
He suffered injuries at Michigan that impacted his play, and after transferring to Wake Forest, his health and fit all seemed to come together. In 12 games for the Demon Deacons, he put up 34 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, and 8.0 quarterback sacks. He is a Canadian native and will arrive at the NFL in the form of a versatile defender. The LA Rams love to stash players like Vilain, bulk him up off the field, and coach him up on the field. He is a very intriguing prospect who could be a solid depth player. He can fill an outside linebacker role for the Rams.
Option III – Edge rusher DeShaan Dixon from Norfolk State is one of those seldom scouted small college football program prospects who may hear his name in the 2022 NFL Draft. Over 42 games played at Norfolk State University, Dixon chalked up 154 tackles, 24.5 tackles for a loss, and 14.5 quarterback sacks. He is listed as 6-foot-5 and 260-pounds in his collegiate bio, but I suspect those measurements are rather generous.
He has incredible versatility. While he is from a small school, he is willing to be whatever the team needs him to be. And because he appears to be capable of lining up anywhere on the defensive line of scrimmage, he could be an intriguing prospect for LA Rams DL Coach Eric Henderson as well.
Make no mistake about his low draft grade, De’Shaan Dixon will make the fanbase of whichever team that selects him incredibly happy. He may come from a small football program, but he is every bit the dedicated and passionate prospect who can find a way to a long and successful NFL career. And he is one of the highest character prospects on this big board, routinely volunteering to give of his time to local charities. I really like this young man.
Option IV – Edge rusher James Houston from Jackson State University is an incredibly intriguing prospect, having experience as both an ILB and OLB (Justin Hollins protege’?). This 6-foot-1 241-pound rookie prospect played three seasons with the Florida Gators before transferring to Jackson State. Right now, he is a very talented prospect who truly does not fit the conventional sense of any NFL category.
And that is what makes his potential so very thrilling.
In 31 games at Florida, he put up 100 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, and 4.5 quarterback sacks. When he transferred to Jackson State, his production skyrocketed. In 13 games, he put up 70 tackles, 24.5 tackles for a loss, and 16.5 quarterback sacks. He also tacked on one interception and 10 quarterback hits.
Because he has toggled at two very different football positions, he has not focussed on either, and will therefore need additional coaching to unlock his true potential. But with the LA Rams harnessing veteran Bobby Wagner, Houston seems like a very natural and intriguing fit to put into the defense and use Houston in a wide variety of ways to throw off the defense, including sending both OLBs and rotating Houston out to the corresponding flat.
With round six concluded, the LA Rams have one more round to add talent to their pass rush.