DB Troy Hill to IR (Groin pull, expected to return)
OLB Keir Thomas (released, could return if clears waivers)
OLB Benton Whitley (signed by Kansas City Chiefs to their active roster)
DB Dan Isom (waived injury settlement from practice squad)
Practice squad additions (1)
DE/OLB Zach VanValkenburg
Active roster additions (2)
DE/OLB Takk McKinley (from Tennessee Titans practice squad)
DB Shaun Jolly (from Cleveland Browns practice squad)
Some key items to note on the defensive side of the football are the ever-increasing interest of NFL teams, not just the LA Rams, in getting pressure on the quarterback from the edge position. In the end, the LA Rams lost two edge rushers in rookie Benton Whitley and rookie Keir Thomas, but found two edge rushers in veteran Takk McKinley and veteran Zach VanValkenburg.
Now the question is, are the LA Rams any further ahead after the dust settles? I think so, yes.
Survey the Rams roster changes on defense
We know that the LA Rams’ current defensive coordinator, Raheem Morris, coached for the Atlanta Falcons from 2015-2020. During that time, he had a first-hand perspective of the type of player and the impact that Takk McKinley can make on defense. McKinley was primarily a starter in 2019 and 2020, but has filled the rotational role that he will find on the Rams defense in 2017, and 2018, and with the Cleveland Browns in 2021.
Morris ultimately cut Takk McKinley from the Falcons roster, but don’t let that fool you. He nearly cut Dante Fowler Jr., which was only avoided after Fowler conceded to accept a salary cut.
Takk McKinley has grown since then. He suffered a ruptured Achilles Tendon in 2021, a matter that has forced him to refocus his life’s choices. That new perspective, plus a chance to play under the umbrella of the Aaron Donald effect, could be the jumpstart to his NFL career that he sorely needs. His best season, 2018, ended with 7.0 quarterback sacks. If everything aligns for him this season, he still could surpass that mark.
Another key addition is slot cornerback Shaun Jolly, who may be pushed into service as soon as this week. With Troy Hill on IR, and both Cobie Durant and David Long Jr. fighting through injuries, Jolly is arriving just in time to help in what may be OJT as far as playing in the Rams’ secondary. This guy plays the same type of firey passionate coverage that I loved from former Rams DB Darious Williams, and if he sees action soon, you may see what I mean.