He's not Purdy, but LA Rams give Mr. Irrelevent some relevancy
By Bret Stuter
It's clear that the LA Rams are taking the need to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks very seriously. The Rams started to address that need early in the 2023 NFL Draft and carried it all the way to the very last pick of the draft, the 259th overall pick, Mr. Irrevelent. Mr. Irrevelent in the 2023 NFL Draft is Toledo DL/Edge Desjuan Johnson.
Just who is he? Well, he is either an interior defensive lineman or an edge rusher, depending on who you ask. The LA Rams consider him a defensive end, so let's stand pat on that for the moment. What I do what to point out is just how dominating this young man performed during the East-West Shrine Bowl practices:
While he did not get an invitation to the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, more than a dozen NFL teams sought him out and discussed his football future in the days leading up to the draft. He was interviewed by The Draft Network, and I highly recommend checking that out at this link or by clicking through the Tweet immediately below to get to the story.
Much like the LA Rams other rookie defensive lineman, Desjuan Johnson is a 3-tech who can and has the versatility to move along the defensive front as the need arises. Keep in mind that these LA Rams are down two starters along the defensive front, as both A'Shawn Robinson and Greg Gaines signed with other teams as NFL free agents
While Johnson won't necessarily get significant playing time right out of the gate, he will certainly be among the players on the Rams roster who will have a shot to earn playing time.
Perhaps the most curious thing about the LA Rams preferences in the 2023 NFL Draft is not that they have chosen defensive linemen, but that both rookie defensive linemen additions appear to be cut from the same cord of wood as Aaron Donald.
If there seems to be a greater number of NFL interior defensive linemen who resemble Aaron Donald, the reason is likely due to the amazing success Donald continues to enjoy in the NFL. But even a great one like Aaron Donald ages and the rest of the NFL catches up. The LA Rams are simply trying to prepare for when that day comes.