4 options to restore the LA Rams pass rush in 2023

LA Rams pass rush
LA Rams pass rush / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages
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Rams Pass Rush may be better than expected in 2023

One of the challenges with assessing the current status of the LA Rams defense is trying to get a handle on the quality of the team's pass rush, as is, before the team enters the 2023 NFL Free Agent marker or the 2023 NFL Draft. There is a bit of misinformation that is tough to shrug off, a belief that improving the team only happens if the team spends money or if the team invests valuable draft picks into the position. But there are indications that the Rams pass rush may be on the uptick already.

Veteran OLB Leonard Floyd recorded no quarterback sacks in the first six games of 2022. But that was likely due to recovery from ankle surgery. After the team's BYE on Week 7, Floyd exploded for nine quarterback sacks over the next nine games. That includes three multiple-sack games over that span. Will his production carry into 2023? Every indication suggests that it will. Not only did Floyd end the season healthy, but the Rams extended no-postseason competition offseason will allow Floyd to rest and be recharged for a new season.

More QB pressure where that came from

Another late season surge for the LA Rams was due to the surprising explosion of OLB production from former DL Michael Hoecht. Hoecht is a powerful defender whose skillsets are enhanced over his impressive speed, He is one of 20 undrafted free agents signed by the LA Rams after the 2020 NFL Draft concluded. At the time, he projected as an NFL defensive lineman, and remained on the Rams practice squad throughout the 2020 NFL season. But he was added to the team's active roster in 2021, and cross-trained as an outside linebacker midway through the 2022 NFL season. The reason? This guy is fast:

The most intriguing aspect of Hoecht's future as an LA Rams OLB role is the part where he recorded 4.5 quarterback sacks in just the final seven games of the 2022 NFL season. That's incredible production out of a player who was extremely limited in his experience in that position. If the Rams extend Hoecht (they should, as he is an Exclusive Rights Free Agent - ERFA), the team essentially has two players whose production was very impressive in the second half of 2022.

But they are not the only players vying for playing time. The LA Rams will be welcoming back rookies Daniel Hardy, Keir Thomas, and Braydon Thomas to the group as well. While none recorded a quarterback sack in 2022, all are projected to larger roles in the teams rotation in 2023, and their limited experience last season should be a solid foundation to build upon in training camp this year.

But are there other options? Of course there are, and the LA Rams will be kicking over every stone in an effort to optimize their pass rush in 2023. Who might the Rams look at? There are a number of intriguing players who could show up on the Rams radar. Let's look at four of those possible Rams Free Agency signings: