LA Rams full steam ahead at dominating defense with 161st pick
By Bret Stuter
When the LA Rams arrived to Round 5 of the 2023 NFL Draft, they were positioned to dominate this round. Despite the fact that the Rams draft selection would not begin until the 26th pick in this round, and the 161st overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Rams love prospects in Round 5.
The Rams financial situation remains in a bit of a tight spot, so getting rookies out of Rounds 5, 6, and 7 means potential contributors while sustaining the ease on the Rams salary cap. Think of players selected from now on as a Costco hot dog. Easy on the wallet, but can get the job done to satiate the appetite.
At the 161st pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, the LA Rams go old school and small school by tapping Appalachian State's linebacker Nick Hampton.
The LA Rams pile another defensive pass rusher into the bus in Round 5. He is not a clear cut outside linebacker, and he is not an experienced inside linebacker. What he is for the LA Rams is a very versatile and valuable addition to the Rams roster, and he is one player who feeds the need at any linebacker position on the Rams 3-4 defense.
Now, don't get me wrong. Nick Hampton is going to get his share of defensive snaps. But I'm not convinced that they will all occur at the outside linebacker spot. Hampton is a 6-foot-2 236-pound linebacker who has the feel of a hybrid linebacker, much like the former Rams Justin Hollins. While smaller than Hollins (who stood 6-foot-5 and weighed in at 248 pounds).
Did the Rams reach? Some may say yes, but he was an under-scouted outside linebacker who remained among the Top 20 Edge rushers in this rookie draft class. He did appear on my 2023 NFL Draft Top-10 Sleepers list, and you can check out why by clicking on that link.
Ultimately, the Rams need pass rushers, and Nick Hampton has all the makings of a good one.