LA Rams Draft Big Board: Top 23 Edge rushers in 2022 draft class
Priority undrafted free agent rookies (3)
Even though the 2022 NFL Draft ends with the 262nd pick, the Rams may still need reinforcements, so here are some undrafted free agent rookies who may still be available for the edge position after the 2022 NFL Draft. Of course, any of the above prospects can fall out of the draft, particularly this year with so little consensus.
Option I – Edge rusher Bentley Whitley from Holy Cross is a very intriguing prospect, having a background in wrestling is always a good thing. Whitley is a player who attracts interest due to his passion and relentless effort but drops out of the draftable class of edge rushers because his efforts are inefficient.
Thankfully, it’s nothing that a good redshirted season of NFL coaching can’t fix. Meanwhile, his 6-foot-3 257-pound frame would make an excellent addition to the special teams unit while he refines his craft. He may not excite everyone with his potential, but he certainly offers plenty of solid blue-collar production value, particularly in the sense of quality depth for training camp.
Option II – Edge rusher Tristan Nichols from the University of Nevada is a player who will no doubt come with plenty of questions and medical flags. He suffered a serious knee injury in 2019, which became infected and required additional medical attention in 2020. As a result, his college career is all of 14 games, with 36 tackles, 16.0 tackles for a loss, and 16.0 quarterback sacks.
While he is categorized as an Edge rusher, Nichols has played as a defensive tackle for Nevada. But due to his size of 6-foot-4 and 245-pounds, he will most likely need to cross-train into a two-point stance outside linebacker at the NFL level. He has impressive pass rush moves but has built up that work by playing from a three-point stance near the middle of the action. Can he replicate that same productivity off the edge? We’ll need to wait and see.
Option III – Edge rusher Arron Mosby from Fresno State University is such a uniquely storied draft prospect that I’m hopeful that the LA Rams sign him just to have more opportunity to discuss his NFL career. He has played as a defensive back, as a linebacker, and finally finished his NCAA football career as a defensive end. Because he possesses such a unique football background, he could be an extremely versatile chip in a creative defensive coordinator’s arsenal. DE/OLB/LB/S? How would offensive coordinators try to game plan against that?
In 46 games, Mosby generated 156 tackles, 26.5 tackles for a loss, six quarterback sacks (all in his final season), 10 deflected passes, and two interceptions – including one pick-six with a 95.0-yard return.
It’s hard to believe that someone who is this versatile can be very good at stopping the run and at pass coverage, but he truly is. Because he has so much going on, his technique at setting the edge and learning successful pass rush moves has been limited. But for the right team, Mosby is incredibly unique and versatile. He has that “Honey Badger” feel about him.
23 prospects really do not seem like many prospects, but this amounts to nearly 10 percent of the number of players to be chosen in this year’s draft. The LA Rams have plenty of options to choose from – from big schools to smaller football programs.
While the Rams have late picks, don’t be discouraged. This year’s draft class is loaded with talented prospects.
And some claim that there is more athleticism in this draft class than has been seen before. That makes this class, and the individual players within, so hard to project because if they are all this good, teams have historically chosen other less abundantly talented positions early.
The key to a successful draft at the outside linebacker is to obtain not just the best athlete, but the best fit for the LA Rams defense. Practically any prospect who lines up next to All-Pro DL Aaron Donald will get his shots at the quarterback. So the Rams need to include all the qualities of a good outside linebacker.
Someone who has a great attitude, who is very coachable, and who can contribute. Now all the LA Rams need to do is identify him from the group and add him to the roster. Easy peasy, right?