LA Rams Michael Hoecht knows his window of opportunity is open now

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

For any rookie who signs as an undrafted free agent, the standard timetable for making themselves valuable on the team’s 53-man roster, the window of opportunity is typically four years. That is the young man that must ascend from anonymity and obscurity to a height where the team’s coaching staff recognizes his contribution well enough to offer him a contract extension. But for LA Rams defensive lineman Michael Hoecht, he realizes that his window is now, and it may close at any time.

He was the unicorn of the class of 2020. The defensive lineman with the running back background, a player who could run as well as power lift. And that jumped out during the signing period of undrafted college free agents in 2020.

That was just the first thing that jumped off the page about Hoecht. Another thing that may catch your eye is the fact that, although born in Ohio, he is from Canada. Finally, he graduated from Brown University, not exactly known as the stomping grounds for an NFL-hopeful defensive lineman.

Hoecht is on Coach Henny’s radar

But that is what makes LA Rams DL coach Eric Henderson special. He knows what he is looking for in potential players. When he finds that player? He brings them aboard.

"“I saw a bunch of things in Mike that I was like, ‘I wonder if this is too good to be true. I felt like he was a diamond-in-the-rough type of player, that once you get him into the organization that everyone would love him, and he would be able to do almost anything you asked him to do. He’s been fulfilling that role to the utmost right now.”-DL Coach Eric Henderson per Sports Illustrated Tess Demeyer"

Hoecht does not jump off the page as an NFL defensive lineman. He could be an NBA wing, a center fielder for some MLB team, or even the latest gold pro invited to the Masters. He’s played 110 defensive snaps so far, and nearly triple that on special teams.

Hoecht has his work cut out for him this season. He’s put up just seven tackles. But 110 defensive snaps is not a large enough sample to know what he is capable of. Without Sebastian Joseph Day on the roster this year, Hoecht will be one of the players expected to step up and absorb more defensive snaps. How will he do?  Well, the third year for most NFL players is that point in time where significant progress happens.

Michael Hoecht is a very smart young man. He knows that his window of opportunity is open now, so I don’t expect that he will let it close on him without putting up one helluva fight.

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