5 Rams prospects who are fighting not to be cut going into the summer

Los Angeles Rams Minicamp, Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams Minicamp, Sean McVay / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages
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LB Elias Neal

The team's front office surprisingly did not invest any draft capital into the inside linebacker position, despite the fact that the team was viewed as needing greater depth to surround defensive star Ernest Jones for the 2024 NFL season. While the team did not directly address the need, two promising linebackers signed with the team after the draft.

One rookie prospect is former Marshall linebacker Elias 'Eli' Neal, a 6-foot-0 226-pound productive backer who is already fighting hard for a roster spot. The reason his struggle to make an impression on the coaching staff? He is competing with six other players, five of whom are returning veterans.

We often cite rookies who stood out in practices and competition at the annual Reese Senior Bowl, but Elias Neal stood out at the annual Hula Bowl, and made quite an impression on coaches and other players:

Neal; was a small college football player who put up big production. In five seasons, he accounted for 374 tackles, 32.5 tackles for a loss, 12.0 quarterback sacks, five interceptions, broke up nine passes, forced one fumble and recovered five fumbles.

While a bit smaller than some NFL inside linebackers, there is absolutely no fear in Neal's approach to the game. NFL Draft Diamonds conducted a pre-draft interview with him, and he certainly represented himself well enough. The challenge is that he is a rookie facing plenty of veteran competition.

Still, he needn't show up as an All-Pro for the team on Day 1. Neal simply has to be better than the competition at some things. And at 6-foot-0 and 226 pounds, if he can showcase superior pass defense and pass coverage, he will have a shot. But the competition has already started, and he has a lot of ground to make up.