Intriguing position battles for LA Rams in 2024 will shock some fans

Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout, Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout, Sean McVay / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages
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I: The edge of tomorrow

The consensus after the team selected OLB Jared Verse with the 19th overall pick is that the primary rotational role at the outside linebacker position will fall between veteran Michael Hoecht and rookie Brennan Jackson. And that may be very true. Starting OLBs Bryan Young and Jared Verse seems like a huge upgrade over the 2023 and 2023 seasons, even though Verse has yet to take snaps for the Rams' defense.

Where it gets very interesting is the competition between Hoecht and Jackson. Rookie OLB Brennan Jackson stands 6-foot-4, weighs 266 pounds, and is a firecracker off the edge who loves football, works hard, and is constantly working to improve his game. He will try to earn playing time form veteran Michael Hoecht, who also stands 6-foot-4 but is listed at 310 pounds.

Despite his ever-improving efficiency at outside linebacker, far too many fans focus on his struggles to cover some of the fastest receivers in the NFL. For a change, let's focus on what he did right in 2023. That means discussing 81 tackles, 6.0 quarterback sacks, breaking up two pass plays, seven tackles for a loss, 11 quarterback hits, one forced fumble, and allowing 77.4 percent of passes targeting his receiver to find their mark.

Can Brennan Jackson compete with that level of production? In a word, yes.

NFL Draft Buzz. player. 51. NFL Draft profile. Brennan Jackson. Brennan Jackson. Brennan Jackson draft profile. Edge rusher. Washington State. Rd 5

Jackson love football, and it shows in every play he makes. He is a passionate but high IQ player who is constantly evolving his arsenal to optimize his impact. He has the chops to rush the passer or drop back into pass coverage, a skill that has so far evaded Hoecht. Best of all, he recovered four fumbles in 2023, and converted three of those turnovers into touchdowns.

Hoecht is a steadfast and dependable performer who gives coaches some level of certainty over what he can, and cannot do, on defense. Jackson is a wild card, the joker of suits that can pay off huge rewards if the is given the chance to play early and often.

The Rams pass rush will benefit from this competition. But which of the two will make the bigger impact? Stay tuned . . .