Rams Roster: Fast 40+ LA Rams roster roundup ILB Ryan Smenda Jr. (#19)

Wake Forest Blake Whiteheart, Ryan Smenda Jr., Chase Jones, Michael Jurgens
Wake Forest Blake Whiteheart, Ryan Smenda Jr., Chase Jones, Michael Jurgens / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

While the LA Rams did not draft anyone to chip in at the inside linebacker position, the team fully entrusts third-year veteran Ernest Jones to handle the workload as the starter for the inside linebacker position. But there are plenty of questions, and therefore opportunities, to pair him up with a young teammate this year.

A quick summary

Clearly, the LA Rams loved what their NFL scouts saw at Wake Forest University because the team added three rookie players of the five draftable prospects to the Rams roster this year. The Rams added DL Kobie Turner, IOL Sean Maginn, and finally, 6-foot-1 230-pound ILB Ryan Smenda Jr. It will take more than knowing a guy on the Rams roster.

Ryan Smenda Jr. has a proven track record of serious production on the Wake Forest defense over his five season career. And with a 6-foot-1 230-pound presence, he already looks the part of an NFL linebacker.

What I don't like about this signing

Rookie inside linebacker Ryan Smenda Jr joins the LA Rams roster at a position that will face fierce competition, and on the surface, there does not seem to be anything particularly special about him to aid him in getting noticed by the LA Rams coaching staff. While he is a five-year college football player, he arrives raw and has some techniques that will need some refinement. The question is, will the Rams have the coaching staff bandwidth to work with him patiently?

What I like about this signing

The LA Rams deviated from their normal pattern of stocking the inside linebacker position since DC Raheem Morris arrived. Prior to Morris, the Rams front office invested next to nothing in the role, counting on young raw inside linebacker prospects who were tackling machines to arrive and develop into NFL linebackers with the help of the Rams coaching staff.

It appears that the Rams are returning to that tried-and-true method, banking on the veteran leadership of third-year player Ernest Jones to anchor the role, and to develop a young teammate to best complement Jones in the bookend role.

Ryan Smenda is a throwback to the early LA Rams years of commiting little into the selection process. Instead, the team anticipates a steady and marked development throughout training camp.

Inside linebacker . Ryan Smenda Jr.. Ryan Smenda Jr.. CFA. Draft Scout profile. player. 51. ILB Ryan Smenda Jr. (#19). Draft Network profile. Wake Forest

Smenda truly does not jump off the page, at least not until the football pads go on and he steps onto a football field. From that point, he becomes a man on a mission, a true football player who exhibits the focus and ferocity of a junk yard dog. And at the final whistle, nobody is surprised him to be the team's leading tackler.

What I love about this signing

My first impression of Ryan Smenda Jr. that rocked in a positive direction was this interview that he gave to Draft Diamonds (click this link here). He is a well-versed young man who competed in both football and wrestling. I have often found that wrestlers make great football players from their core muscle strength to their balance and finally their high level of body control.

So why not just show you his 2022 season highlights, rather than tell you.

He was on the LA Rams' radar early and was one of the college players who the Rams did meet with prior to the 2023 NFL Draft. Clearly, the Rams had him in mind and jumped on the opportunity to sign him after the 2023 NFL Draft concluded:

While he does not jump off the page, he has a fantastic knack of playing hard, chipping away at the offense, and piling up the tackles.

What are his chances of making the roster?

Special teams performance will play an especially significant say in where or if Ryan Smenda Jr. makes the Rams roster. If he excels at special teams, he could land a slot on the active 53-man Rams roster. But if he does not stand out, I would expect that he is likely destined to land on the Rams practice squad.

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The Rams currently have seven inside linebackers to assess. I expect that the team will carry three or four on the 53-man roster, and perhaps one or two on the practice squad. That means that Ryan Smenda Jr. truly has his work cut out for him. But I expect that is how he likes it.