3 areas fans will see marked improvement from 2024 Rams roster

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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II Pass rush

When it comes to getting after the quarterback, it's curious that despite landing the two best rookie pass rushes in 2023, the Rams defense continued to struggle at getting after opposing quarterbacks. The teams 41 quarterback sacks in 2023 were only good enough to come in as the 23rd-most for the year. That was a pass rush that included 16 games out of All-Pro DT Aaron Donald.

In 2024, the LA Rams pass rush will need to do better.

New contributors

While the 2024 Rams training camp has yet to take place, it was glaringly obvious that one of the primary objectives of the 2024 NFL Draft was to carpet bomb prospects who could help the team get after the quarterback in 2024. While there is no way of guaranteeing that new players on the Rams roster will have anywhere near the production of the Rams 2023 rookie class, the team only needs to get ample production from one or two rookies in 2024 to show progress.

The Rams added the following help to the defensive front in 2024:

  • OLB Jared Verse | Florida State | Round 1 | 6-foot-4, 250 pounds
  • DT Braden Fiske | Florida State | Round 2 | 6-foot-4, 295 pounds
  • OLB Brennan Jackson | Washington State | Round 5 | 6-foot-4, 266 pounds
  • DT Tyler Davis | Clemson | Round 6 | 6-foot-2 , 300 pounds
  • DE Anthony Goodlow | Oklahoma State | UDFA | 6-foot-5, 283 pounds
  • DT Tuli Letuligasenoa | Washington | UDFA | 6-foot-1, 292 pounds
  • DT David Olajiga | Central Missouri | UDFA | 6-foot-3, 276 pounds

There are as many as six players from the above list who can earn a spot in the team's 53-man roster. While not all players will make an impact in terms of quarterback sacks in 2024, I recommend keeping an eye on Jared Verse, Braden Fiske, Brennan Jackson, and Anthony Goodlow as early front runners of the group. If the defense can get a combined 20 quarterback sacks from that quartet, the pass rush will show market improvement in 2024.

Familiar faces

No NFL team can back on rookies to carry the burden of getting after the quarterback, and the 2024 Rams defense is no exception. While the team generated 17.0 quarterback sacks from rookies in 2023 (23.0 quarterback sacks if you allow Michael Hoecht's first year at outside linebacker to count as a rookie contribution to the cause), you should look for more from returning veterans this year.

The learning curve for pass rushers takes a noticeable uptick in Year 2. That is due to the fact that much of a player's rookie season is generating experience at the position, with teammates, and against seasoned NFL offensive linemen. Year 2 is when that initial experience is the fertile bedrock that fosters counter moves, understanding both defensive and offensive strategies as a whole, and knowing a great deal more about the NFL.

Of the 23.0 quarterback sacks generated by NT Kobie Turner, OLB Byron Young, and OLB Michael Hoecht, you are on solid ground to expect 30.0+ quarterback sacks from the trio in 2024. If the team can accomplish that total, plus 20.0+ quarterback sacks from the new crop of rookies, the defense will end 2024 with 50.0+ quarterback sacks for the year.