Being drafted by the LA Rams to rush the passer may sound like a dream opportunity for an NFL rookie until you begin to look at the details of the job. But for a rookie from a small college football program like outside linebacker Chris Garrett, Every moment of every day at training camp, preseason, and practice is 100 percent auditioning for the coaching staff. And that can take its toll on a young man who is acclimating to an entirely new life, team, coaching staff, and city.
Garrett was added to the team with the 252nd pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, a young man whose athleticism was off the charts, but whose background left a void of experience in facing top competition. That left the unanswered question that remains wholly answered to this day: Is Chris Garrett that good, or was his collegiate competition that bad?
His dominance in college is undeniable. He averaged better than a quarterback sack per game. He was dominating in a way that is seldom seen. And when he played for the LA Rams in the 2021 preseason, he literally took over the game. But then, in the season, he never seemed to show up on the field.
He was derailed when he contracted COVID-19 and was hit a bit hard as a result. That sidelined him for three weeks, perhaps the most critical period for a young rookie. We believe that will change this year. Why? We came prepared, and here are our top three reasons.
Reason III – He’s familiar with the routine
One year later, he is healthy and no longer a wide-eyed rookie. He will get a full training camp and will be included in personnel packages. Why? Well, basic onboarding. He is no longer subject to tours to find his way around the LA Rams facility. He knows who the coaches are and where their offices are located. He’s moved to his new location and had an entire year to learn the lay of the land.
This year he can focus on the football field, and not spend so much time trying to learn and absorb so many details about his surroundings. And the bonus to all of that is the simple fact that he already has a year of LA Rams football under his belt. He may not have seen much action on the football field in 2021, but that was as much about being derailed from his rookie development track as anything.
He’s the type of player who will not be tasked with stuffing the run. He’s a pass-rushing thoroughbred and will find himself going into games as part of a pass defense package initially.