Eureka! LA Rams experiment of Michael Hoecht at Edge is a success

(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /

What do you do if you are the LA Rams and in need of quarterback pressure, but haven’t enough productive players at that position on the roster? You manufacture one, that’s what you do. Lo and behold, that is exactly what the Rams have done with seldom-used versatile undrafted defensive lineman Michael Hoecht. Because Hoecht has some eye-popping speed for a down defensive lineman (see the Tweet below welcoming him to the Rams roster in 2020),

someone on the Rams coaching staff had suggested that the Rams look within their own roster for an outside linebacker option. That’s a pretty significant shift from a hand or two in the dirt to a two-point stance. So how did he do? Well, he had the most defensive snaps all season, staying on the football field for 64.  Starting OLB Leonard Floyd had 74, and rotational OLB Terrell Lewis had just 14. But playing time is just part of the story. How did he perform? Well, he had a career-high six tackles for the game, while teammate Floyd had two tackles, while Lewis did not record a tackle in the game

We’ve talked for some time about how the LA Rams need help on the pass rush. Has that extra bit of pass-rush reinforcements been found?

Based on the results so far, I think so, yes. The conversion from being a down lineman to an upright outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme can sometimes take several years for an NFL player to master. While we do not have the starting date of when Hoecht began to try out as an outside linebacker, his initial performance was a surprising success. Not only did he get substantial playing time, but he looked natural in the role.

If he can flourish in that role, that will certainly help to free up the LA Rams 2023 NFL Draft, and perhaps add some flexibility to the Rams draft Big Board this year. Best of all, it means that the Rams’ defense will have one less hole to fill in next season’s defensive depth chart.

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