5 Rams players who are on the roster bubble after NFL Draft

2024 NFL Draft
2024 NFL Draft / Aaron J. Thornton/GettyImages
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III: OLB Zach VanValkenburg

As barren as the pass rush room seemed to be in 2023, there is a wellspring of new talent that has joined the team in the form of OLB Jared Verse and OLB Brennan Jackson. To be perfectly honest, I am torn as to which rookie has the upper edge in terms of earning a starting role. But one thing is clear. The team has gone from a deficit at the position to a healthy surplus in one draft.

Like it or not, the team will start OLB Byron Young and will still find ways to put OLB/DL Michael Hoecht on the football field to terrorize opposing quarterbacks on passing downs. The other starter will either be Jared Verse or Brennan Jackson, and the other player will get a healthy does of defensive snaps in a rotational role.

That leaves a lot of competition among OLBs Ochaun Mathis, Nick Hampton, and Keir Thomas for even a minor role on the team's practice squad. In that context, the team's demotion of Zach VanValkenburg in the middle of the 2023 NFL season stands out like a sore thumb.

The team needs to get much better production out of the outside linebacker position, and the team just added two guys who have 'Day 1 starter' written all over them. If they were on a lesser team roster, both could be sure-fire starters this season. As it now stands, one or the other will likely get the start.

But like the game of shuffleboard, two players landing coveted roles on this defense move all other players on the roster down the rungs of the depth chart ladder. Right now, that likely pushes VanValkenburg onto the roster bubble.