At one point in the LA Rams’ recent history, a path to the LA Rams roster for an undrafted rookie inside linebacker was an almost certainty. The team would develop that player for a year or two on the practice squad, and eventually have coached that player up to the NFL-caliber, worthy of playing a rotational role for the defense. That track applied to Pro Bowl ILB Cory Littleton, as well as ILB Troy Reeder.
But inside linebacker Jake Hummel seems as though he will be more than a practice squad stashed player for the LA Rams this year. How so?
Well, for starters, I’m not sure how he fell out of the 2022 NFL Draft, to begin with. He was a solid two-year very productive inside linebacker for Iowa State. In his final two seasons, he played 25 games, put up 160 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, one quarterback sack, two interceptions with one being a pick-six, broke up seven passes, forced one fumble, and even recovered another fumble.
He may have the boyish face that slightly resembles the impish backup quarterback John Wolford, but he has the unmistakable physique of an NFL throwback linebacker.
He is described with poor marks against his speed and power but gets high marks on his football IQ and field awareness. He is not the type to outrun anyone to the point of attack. Rather, he studies opponents, records their tendencies, and anticipates where they will go with the football. He is a physical presence in the middle of the football field, a bigger-bodied Nick Scott type of laying-the-smack-down tackler.
He is not a question mark on the football field, and that is saying something. Will he catch on quickly enough to leapfrog anyone to ensure a roster spot? I believe that is certainly in the realm of possibilities. The LA Rams front office appears to have a much clearer idea of what DC Raheem Morris would like at the inside linebacker spot, and Hummel nails those skillsets.