The LA Rams love to sign and stash promising young talent on their practice squad. And for the most part, that is a successful strategy. Nobody does it better than LA Rams DL coach Eric Henderson, who continues to find and develop outstanding NFL defensive linemen, who are eagerly signed to the rosters of other NFL teams after their rookie contracts expire.
Well, if they are allowed to get that far, that is.
But sometimes, the need for another team’s roster is simply too great to ignore. On those occasions, that team’s general manager scans the NFL waiver wire and other teams’ practice squads for hidden gems. This time, the Denver Broncos knew exactly where to look, and signed a promising young defensive lineman Elijah Garcia off the LA Rams practice squad.
Of course, the Broncos knew where to shop for defensive line help, as their defensive line coach is Marcus Dixon, a former assistant DL coach for the LA Rams. Due to his ties with the Rams and familiarity with the Rams roster, he knew that Garcia holds plenty of NFL potential.
Another promising undrafted prospect
Garcia was signed to the LA Rams roster after the 2022 NFL Draft, just one of two undrafted defensive linemen added to the roster. Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 302 pounds, he had the size and power to line up anywhere on the Rams’ defensive front and hold his own. His draft profiles were promising, but the outstanding point was the fact that Elijah Garcia is such a hard-working defensive lineman.
The loss of Garcia may not seem like a big deal to some. But these LA Rams are cash-strapped and face the expiration of multiple contracts of defensive linemen, including DL A’Shawn Robinson, DL Greg Gaines, and even dependable DL Marquise Copeland. While Copeland projects to be an Exclusive Rights Free Agent (ERFA), the Rams will do quite a few financial maneuvers to afford extensions on either Robinson or Gaines.
Garcia has not seen live action this season, but he showed promise in two preseason game appearances, where he recorded six tackles and was able to get his hands up to deflect a pass. I believe that he has the potential to be a solid contributor on defense, and expect the Rams may need to adjust their offseason priorities.
Undoubtedly, Garcia was in the mix for a significant rotational role on the LA Rams defensive front for the 2023 NFL season. Now, he is lost to the team and conceivable becomes one more need for the team to address in the 2023 offseason and the 2023 NFL Draft.