UDFA II: Defensive lineman
One of the dramatic thrills of any draft is the anticipation of which defensive linemen will be added to the LA Rams roster. This year, one such player is 6-foot-5 302-pound Rice defensive lineman Elijah Garcia. While raw, he has been incredibly productive (and impressive) whi
What does the team need for this position?
The LA Rams defensive line coach Eric Henderson is the best in the NFL, and he keeps it pretty simple when he is looking for players. Commitment, effort on 100 percent of the plays, and coachability. Beyond those basic prerequisites, the LA Rams need a versatile player who can offer defensive production in a number of defensive line positions.
What does this rookie deliver?
Elijah Garcia checks all of the boxes. And I won’t lie, I’m pretty biased when it comes to the blocker-gobbler guys on the defensive line of scrimmage. While he may not crack a rather deep positional depth chart in 2022, I believe he is in line for a role in 2023. He is a defensive lineman who plays hard at the line of scrimmage and is a fast pursuer. He could be more than a developing player.
Who else was available?
Again, the NFL Draft board showed that the LA Rams did not sign 6-foot-5 308-pound Texas A&M defensive lineman Jayden Peevy. Peevy was projected to be drafted in Round 6, with a wide base and flashes of pass rush ability. The team also did not sign 6-foot-3 342-pound Kentucky defensive lineman Marquan McCall. McCall is a huge powerful nose tackle who offered plenty of run defense but was almost a non-factor in rushing the quarterback.
Instant reaction: Garcia is an intriguing player who appears to offer an almost Greg Gaines arsenal of skillsets. Raw and unrefined, how quickly he grasps NFL techniques may have a huge say in how quickly he earns playing time.
Draft Grade: B+. Garcia was very productive, despite not displaying any polish or refinement of superior technique. He seems to be a solid prospect for what the Rams need.