To open roster slot LA Rams waive promising OLB Keir Thomas

Sometimes in life, you have to take one step backward to take two steps forward. So it seems with the LA Rams, whose efforts to amplify the ability to rush the passer today required the front office to shed a player and create the appropriate slot on the Rams roster.  Two such roster openings were created on September 22, 2022, when the LA Rams opened one slot on the active roster and cleared a player from the practice squad IR list.

The practice squad player released was RB Trey Ragas. The active roster slot was vacated by OLB Keir Thomas:

The promotion of rookie outside linebacker Keir Thomas may have been premature, but was a roll of the dice by the LA Rams after losing rookie outside linebacker Daniel Hardy to injury at the start of the season.  Per Lineups.com, Keir Thomas has seen live action on just three defensive snaps so far this year.

Keir Thomas Draft profiles

Keir Thomas was a lesser-scouted outside linebacker. While he was unanimously cited as a player with excellent technique, he was downgraded due to a lack of agility and speed. He was snubbed by the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, a death blow to his chances to hear his name called during the 2022 NFL Draft. As is often the case, that did not prevent the LA Rams from signing him after the draft.

FA
Keir Thomas
OLB Florida State

The Rams were clearly pleased with the progress that Keir Thomas made throughout training camp and the preseason. He showed up in two preseason games’ box stats, in which he recorded five tackles, four tackles for a loss, and one quarterback sack. When the team was compelled to select a reasonable replacement for the Rams roster until Daniel Hardy was medically cleared, Thomas was the obvious choice.

Since the Rams have opted to use their early draft picks in a less-than customary manner to improve their roster, the team has expanded the practice squad into an incubation chamber for talented but raw prospects. Once on the practice squad, the LA Rams coaching staff will continue to work with and coach up those players, building them up to assume rotational roles later in the season or the following year.

Based on his light usage, Thomas is likely a rookie who is better suited for that development track. Once waived, the LA Rams must wait for the moment when he clears the NFL waives claims. Once that happens, he reverts to becoming an NFL free agent, and the Rams organization can re-sign him to the practice squad if that is their intention.