5 problems LA Rams must avoid in 2023’s initial roster

Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Roster Rams News Leonard Floyd
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

II: Too few outside linebackers

The LA Rams were unsuccessful at extending veteran outside linebacker Von Miller. So the team decided to sign WR Allen Robinson and ILB Bobby Wagner instead. But what of the Rams outside linebacker position? Well, it seemed as though the team was comfortable enough with an outside linebacker room that boasted Leonard Floyd, Terrell Lewis, Justin Hollins, Chris Garrett, and rookies Daniel Hardy, Keir Thomas, Bradon Thomas, and Benton Whitley.

The Rams even signed OLB Takk McKinley to bolster the pass rush. But the Rams cut the following players over the course of the 2022 NFL season:

Chris Garrett
Benton Whitley
Justin Hollins
Terrell Lewis
Takk McKinley

That’s five of eight players, right? So how did the Rams manage to play a 3-4 front with so few outside linebackers?

The Rams got lucky despite their mistakes

For starters, the Rams cross-trained defensive lineman Michael Hoecht into an outside linebacker, a transition that allowed him to sack the quarterback 4.5 times in a limited number of games at the position. But even with Hoecht’s miraculous ability to play outside linebacker, let’s not ignore the fact that the Rams’ roster hit on a last-second Hail Mary effort to staff the role.

In 20/20 hindsight, it was clear that the Rams were dissatisfied with a number of their outside linebackers long before cutting them. It was the need to await the healthy return of rookie Daniel Hardy that triggered the opportunity to waive both Hollins and Lewis. The Rams got very lucky, but cannot hope for lightning to strike twice for their OLB needs.