3 reasons why OLB Michael Hoecht is due for the Floyd effect in 2024

What is the Floyd effect? It could prove to be a way to unleash OLB Michael Hoecht's true potential for 2024.
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams. Michael Hoecht
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams. Michael Hoecht / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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When the LA Rams signed Michael Hoecht to the roster after the 2020 NFL Draft, he had played defensive lineman for the Brown Bears. But he had a football background that included running back. Thanks to that background, Hoecht put up a 4.6-second 40-yard dash that was a rather intriguing mark for a defensive lineman, but was little more than a fun factoid and curiosity as he attempted to earn a spot on the Rams roster.

He would earn a spot, but due to positional depth, he was less effective at the positions than many had hoped. But, he was coachable, willing to play wherever the team needed to plug him in, and was a newfound hope to bolster a lagging pass rush during the 2022 NFL season. The team and the fans learned that Hoecht was not a gimmick but a very versatile player who could rush the quarterback from his new outside linebacker position.

In the end, he played half the season at outside linebacker, while Aaron Donald was benched with injuries, and managed to put up 4.5 quarterback sacks in 2022. And yet, despite arriving undrafted and cross-training to a new position, he was still singled out by Bleacher Report and reportedly was projected to become the biggest bust risk for the Rams in 2023.

Utterly merciless.

He was not a bust. Quite the opposite in fact. He would start for the Rams defense as the outside linebacker paired opposite rookie OLB Byron Young and would show up early in 2023 as a player who was every bit the NFL pass rusher. And yet, despite the fact that this was his first full NFL season in the role, and the fact that he cross-trained from defensive tackle, he was not only recognized for his on-field production, but was the target of fans' derision and trolling in 2023.

That is in spite of 6.0 quarterback sacks, 81 tackles, and 11 quarterback hits. While he did allow a touchdown in coverage (few defensive backs can prevent a touchdown), he did manage to limit opposing receivers no better than a 77.4 percent catch rate when targeted. That is actually a solid season from an outside linebacker.