Option I: Jake Hummel
The LA Rams need a cover guy who can plug the running lanes but create havoc against the pass, and ILB Jake Hummel may be the guy who can do both better than the competition. Like the other candidates who have shown up on this list so far, Hummel was exclusively on special teams for the Rams in 2022. But if you consider the quality of play from both Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones in 2022 and the fact that neither player was injured, you can begin to understand that cracking the Rams' defense was a very difficult challenge for a rookie.
Hummel was signed by the LA Rams after the 2022 NFL Draft, an undrafted rookie to a position that would be highly competitive. But even when he was signed, he had a special something about him that piqued our interest. After all, the LA Rams had a knack for finding inside linebackers who could play from the ranks of undrafted rookies. The Rams did so with former ILB Cory Littleton. The team did so with Troy Reeder. Now, the team will try Jake Hummel.
There is reason to believe in Hummel as he possesses rare elite athleticism, which is a very good starting point for an NFL ILB. Just check out his RAS form last year:
Hummel is a headsy guy who can make plays against the pass. but can also stuff the run with memorable physical tackles. The trick is whether his style of play complements that of Ernest Jones, or is too similar and will create unnecessary duplication. If nothing else, Hummel is a young man who puts in the work and lets his play speak for itself.
The news over Bobby Wagner may have been unexpected, but it does not equate to the LA Rams suddenly repurposing their early draft picks to ensure that the team has sufficient depth at the inside linebacker position. Rather, the vacancy in the starting lineup creates an opportunity for the LA Rams to promote one of their young hardworking inside linebackers who are already on the roster.
I've listed three options. Did I miss anyone?