7 Rams whose reputations are on the line over the 2024 defense

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams defense
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams defense / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
1 of 4

While there is no way that the LA Rams can replace the likes of now-retired All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, there is no option to stop trying either. When Donald was drafted to the team in 2014, the defense boasted the likes of DE Robert Quinn, DT Chris Long, DE Kendall Langford, and DT Michael Brockers. At that time, Robert Quinn was the All-Pro defensive standout. But they all welcomed Aaron Donald to the group, even while knowing in the back of their minds that a new chapter was being written for the defense.

By 2018, only Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers from that group remained on the roster.

Now, it's 2024, and a brand new chapter is beginning for the team's defense. But this chapter will not include any players from that 2014 Saint Louis Rams defense. Rather, this will be a sequel with an entirely new cast. The thing is, will the sequel be as entertaining and riveting as the original? We are about to find out.

There is more to the story of the Rams defense in 2024 than Aaron Donald, just as there was more to the Rams defense in 2014 than Robert Quinn. The game is larger than the player, no matter how great the player. So the tale to be told in 2024 falls upon new characters to tell, to perform, to do their part. Who might those players of this sequel be? Let's run down the cast of characters for you:

7. GM Les Snead

No job in the NFL is as second-guessed as the job of General Manager. For LA Rams GM Les Snead, he has to constantly re-prove himself to be worthy of his job each season, no matter what the conditions. He must find the funds to sign elite veterans in the NFL Free Agency market. He must find elite rookies in the NFL Draft without possessing a first-round pick for seven years. And he must ensure that the locker room is cohesive and coachable.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

The thing is that the bar for Snead rises with each success he manufactures, and he created a lot of success in the 2023 NFL Draft. Snead elected the top two pass rushers, a starting guard/center, the all-time rookie receiver in NFL history, and a punter who can kick the football into orbit. And he did all of that without a Round 1 pick. Now, what does he have up his sleeve for an encore?

If you subscribe to the 'regression to the mean' theory, then you are already preparing for a less elite and star studded 2024 rookie draft class. The team clearly emerged with the best talent from the 2023 NFL Draft than expected, so this year's class is far less likely to be as robust. But the roster needs playmakers once more, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

Les Snead is sneaky good when it comes to filling roster needs. He engineered the incredible importing of young talent last season out of necessity. Not just young players, but bargain-priced veterans who needed a chance to prove themselves. Now, Snead's reputation in on the line once more. The LA Rams have Super Bowl LIX aspirations. Can Snead assemble the roster to carry this team through 17 grueling games and into the 2025 NFL Playoffs?

We are about to find out.