7 seldom-heard from Rams that could make a huge difference this year

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams Davis Allen
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams Davis Allen / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
4 of 6

IV - OLB Ochaun Mathis

There is a lot of buzzing right now about the LA Rams' lack of pass rush, and it's very understandable when you look at the team's 2023 quarterback sack total that landed the team no better than 23rd in the entire NFL. But lost in those numbers is the fact that the team began the 2023 NFL season with both rookie OLB Ochaun Mathis (knee) and OLB Nick Hampton on injured reserve. This forced the team to go with a tight rotation of rookie Byron Young, veteran Michael Hoecht, and Zach VanValkenburg.

6-foot-5 260-pound Mathis finally did return, but the injury derailed his development track. He did get some limited action on defense, but it was not much to write home about. Still, ir you want to improve the pass rush in 2024, Mathis has to be considered as part of that equation. This is his second NFL season, and that is typically the period of the greatest improvement in an outside linebacker's career. Because he is returning, he can get immediate results from OTAs and training camp. I believe he steps up this season, and becomes an integral part of the OLB rotation this year.

III - RB Zach Evans

The team surprised everyone when they elected to draft RB Zach Evans in 2023. Perhaps it was the allure of adding a 5-foot-11 202-pound running back with the 215th overall pick to acquire a rusher who was projected to come off the board much earlier that prompted the Rams to select him. But he faced a pretty crowded RB room in 2023 with Cam Akers, Kyren Williams, Ronnie Rivers, and eventually Royce Freeman (plus a short-term stint by RB Sony Mitchell). Despite the robust competition, he earned a spot on the team's 53-man roster.

Evans had a lot of competition throughout 2023 for reps. As of right now, Cam Akers, Sony Mitchell, and Royce Freeman are no longer on the roster. That means that Evans will see a lot more work throughout the summer, and can use the time to brush up on and improve those areas that prevented him from earning a larger role last season. While I do not see him as competing for a starting role this season, I can see him pushing Ronnie Rivers hard for the RB2 role.