Rams Roster: Fast 40+ LA Rams roster roundup OLB Nick Hampton (#5)

Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Sean McVay / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

If there is any position that is more important to the LA Rams success this year than the outside linebacker position? And yet, on paper, is there any position on the LA Rams roster that is more dependant on rookies and second year players than the outside line backer position?

If you read that first paragraph again, it reads like an oxymoron, doesn't it? Well, that's the state of the union when it comes to the LA Rams pass rush for the 2023 NFL season. After the team released veteran outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, the team automatically placed its trust into the hands of DT turned OLB Michael Hoecht, Daniel Hardy, Keir Thomas, Zach VanValkenburg, and whoever the Rams draft might add to the Rams roster.

A quick summary

The LA Rams clearly needed to stockpile depth at the outside linebacker position, and they continued to address that need in Round 5 of the 2023 NFL Draft. With a diverse and varied 2023 Draft Class, the Rams hope to land immediate contributors who can step in and play meaningful minutes on Day 1. At the same time, the Rams hope that the depth at the position will afford the team a chance to take a longer track to developing raw skills to give the team enhanced depth throughout the 2023 NFL season.

What I don't like about this signing

The LA Rams have a significant need for players who can contribute immediately, but I'm not convinced that rookie OLB Nick Hampton fits that category. Listed on the LA Rams roster at 6-foot-3 and weighing 235 pounds, he is going to be pushed to the limit in terms of staying healthy through the long 17-game regular season.

Because he is a smallish edge rusher, he will be tested against the run early in the season when he takes the football field. Can he set the edge and turn running plays back inside? That's a huge concern that will need to be answered in preseason games.

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What I like about this signing

In terms of dangerous pass rush, Nick Hampton delivers the full monty. That fact was not missed by many draft analysts, who had him projected to come off the board as early as Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft. So in terms of 'value added,' potential, the LA Rams certainly seemed to have done their homework.

Anytime you have the chance to add a rookie who has a ringing endorsement of Reese's Senior Bowl Director Jim Nagy, you need to take it. Nagy has the luxury of seeing the best of the NCAA football seniors each year, and he uses that birds-eye view to give realistic but solid reviews of player skillsets that are translatable to the NFL.

Outside linebacker. Nick Hampton. 51. player. OLB Nick Hampton 2023 draft . NFL Draft Profile. NFL Draft Buzz. Appalachian State. Nick Hampton. 161

But even polished rookies need to ramp up to the level of the NFL, and the Rams have been working hard throughout training camp to get everyone ready:

That does not guarantee instant NFL success. It merely creates a firm foundation for a successful NFL career.

What I loves about this signing

A player off the edge who comes equipped with an 81-inch wingspan is going to cause fits for opposing quarterbacks. That's huge. Just for comparison purposes, he has the same wingspan as former Rams veteran outside linebacker Leonard Floyd.

But there is more to Hampton's potential than long meat hooks. He is incredibly swift and agile. And thanks to his height, he has that incredible ability to 'get small,' and pivot the hairpin turns at the corner to get to the quarterback.

In the weeks leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, Appalachian State OLB Nick Hampton was putting up impressive numbers on the football field too. Check out the Tweet below to get a sneak preview of just how much devastation he brings at the opposing quarterback:

While some may be concerned about the lack of glowing reports about Nick Hampton's performance throughout training camp, I would look to the preseason games to measure just how effective he may be this year.

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What are his chances of making the roster?

He'll make the LA Rams 53-man roster. The question is, will he get many defensive snaps? Or will he be relegated to special teams play only? Or worst of all, will he simply remain a bench warmer throughout his rookie season? Here's hoping he gets his chance to contribute.