Jonah Williams is not just back, he’s breaking out for the LA Rams D

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The saga of undrafted players who find their niche on the LA Rams may be an oft-told tale. But the truth of the matter is that it is simply not as common in the NFL as the Rams organization makes it look. And perhaps the most successful unit of the team is the LA Rams defensive line.

During the 2021 NFL season, the team fielded three players out of a total of eight who never heard their names called out during an NFL Draft: Marquise Copeland (2019), Michael Hoecht (2020), and Jonah Williams (2020).

In perhaps one of the more unusual career tracks, Williams was signed to the LA Rams roster in 2020 after the 2020 NFL Draft and was parked on the practice squad for the 2020 NFL season. He returned to the team in 2021 and made the active 53-man roster.  In fact, he saw playing time if the first eight games of the season.

Unfortunately, the team needed to open a roster spot, necessitating a need to waive Williams.  Almost immediately thereafter, Williams was signed by the Minnesota Vikings. But Williams did not pass his physical, was subsequently released by the Vikings, and cleared NFL waivers.

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Jonah Williams just wants to play

The Rams resigned Williams to their practice squad, and he remains with the team to this day. But what does his 2022 NFL season look like? Well, let’s review his 2021 NFL season.

  • Player                         Snaps Tackles Sacks QB HitsAaron Donald               1,041       84     12.5      25Greg Gaines                     780        55       4.5      13A’Shawn Robinson         516       67       2.0         2Sebastian Joseph Day   341       38       3.0         5Marquise Copeland        108       10       0.0         0Michael Hoecht               110        7         0.0         0Bobby Brown III                 22        1         0.0         0Jonah Williams                  96        5         0.0         0Totals                             3,014    267     22.0       45

Williams showed flashes of potential in 2021, a carryover from a solid preseason in which he recorded 11 tackles and 1.5 quarterback sacks in three games. Of course, in preseason games, players are platooned rapidly to give everyone a solid sampling for coaches to view and evaluate to determine who warrants remaining on the roster, who needs to develop on the practice squad, and who will need to find a new opportunity to play down the road.

So what about Jonah Williams leads me to believe that Williams is ready to break out this season? The 6-foot-5 275-pound defensive lineman is back for his third season for the Rams, a year when many defensive linemen begin to make their serious push for more playing time. His size and style of play will remind you of another undrafted former defensive end from the LA Rams, Morgan Fox, who has signed on with the LA Chargers.

An unnamed source who is close to the Rams and who is in a position to have relevant insight has indicated that Williams is showing significant progress this year and that the Rams defense is expecting big things from him. That fits with his current development and falls in line with many players who have made the leap from an undrafted player into the Rams’ defensive line rotation.

Will Williams make the leap this year? I think he will do more than show up. He showed signs in 2021 of making the jump. This year I believe he will remove all doubt, and step up in a big way.

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