Do or Bye, there is no try season for these 9 LA Rams veterans

Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Matthew Stafford, Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Matthew Stafford, Sean McVay / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages
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LA Rams News Rams Roster Daniel Hardy
Los Angeles Rams Mandatory Minicamp / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

Snooze, you lose

When the LA Rams drafted Montana State outside linebacker Daniel Hardy in Round 7 of the 2022 NFL Draft with the 235th overall pick, the hope was to add a young defender who could contribute on special teams in his rookie season, and perhaps in his second year could compete for a rotational role behind veterans. Unfortunately, Hardy was injured in 2022 and was rehabbing as the LA Rams cut loose all of their veteran outside linebackers.

When he returned, he had every opportunity to play. He did see action in six games in the 2022 NFL season, but only saw action on 41 defensive snaps. He was primarily a special teams contributor for the Rams last season. While that is not necessarily a bad thing, it's not a great look for a guy who plays the outside linebacker position, but was unable to beat out former DL Michael Hoecht, who cross-trained mid season, for playing time.

Rams need a hardy Hardy off the edge

This year, Hardy is expected to play a significant role for the Rams in putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. And the 'early word,' from workouts is that the guy has shown up ready to do exactly that. But there will always be a disconnect from guys running around in short sleeves versus actual training camp when the pads go on. Football is truly a physical sport, and you cannot get a real sense of that until the guys get physical.

I love the attitude and energy of Daniel Hardy. But I loved the attitude and energy of OLB Terrell Lewis too, which was sorely misplaced. Hardy not only has to show up each and every week, but he has to deliver on the football field as well. I think he can. But the LA Rams wait for no man, and this team has Keir Thomas plus rookies Byron Young, Nick Hampton, and Ochaun Mathis who are all competing for a roster spot and playing time.

Hardy may have an advantage of having been through training camp before. But if he falls to injury, his teammates will do everything in their power to drop him to the bottom of the depth chart.