Rams Roster: Fast 40+ LA Rams roster roundup OLB Ochaun Mathis (#10)

NFL Combine Ochaun Mathis
NFL Combine Ochaun Mathis / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Even as the LA Rams addressed the outside linebacker position twice previously in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Rams continued to carpet bomb the position by making their third selectin in the draft to address the position. The Rams chose Nebraska outside linebacker Ochaun Matthis, and hoped that the third time would prove to be the charm.

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Mathis joins an array of young players who are competing for playing time at the edge, led by DT turned OLB Michael Hoecht. Of course, so many young players translate into close and heated competition for roster slots and playing time.

A quick summary

Nebraska OLB Ochaun Mathis really popped up on the radar after an impressive 2020 performance in 2020. After that, he regressed in 2021, and not even transferring from TCU to Nebraska could restore his past production. He simply seemed to peak in 2020, and he remained an adequate if not outstanding pass rusher from that point on. Still, he is an ideal size to compete at the NFL level. And with any luck, the Rams can unlock that 2020 production once more.

What I don't like about this pick

As is the case with many rookie prospects who need to develop, the Rams coaching staff is underwater with the number of players with more potential than present day production. While I think that Ochaun Mathis has a huge upside, I'm simply not convinced that with so many rookies who need that extra bit of coaching dedication, the Rams have enough backpacks to carry him to opening day.

He will need to improve strength, agility, and balance to excel at the NFL level. Once he has that solidified, he can work to refine his hand to eye coordination and his pass rush arsenal of moves.

Of course, that all got placed on hold as he suffered a training camp injury:

What I like about this pick

Of all the players on the Rams roster at the outside linebacker position, rookie Ochaun Mathis certainly looks the part. He is the tallest OLB on the roster at 6-foot-5, and his 260-pound weight suggests that he should be big and strong enough to withstand the rigors of playing the position.

What I love about this pick

The best positon to swell on the roster in my opinion is the outside linebacker role. The position seems to be one of the most difficult positions to fill in the offseason with affordable veterans. If a young player excels on the roster, not only do they add to the Rams defense, but their marketability in the NFL Free Agency market can lead to a nice return in terms of an awarded NFL compensatory draft pick. But even as the player develops, many of their skills transfers well to special teams coverage units.

Of course, to get playing time, rookies need to exhibit superior athleticism. That is not a problem for Ochaun Mathis, as he has an impressive RAS score of 8.99 after layering in his Pro Day times.

Can you ever have enough pass rush? I don't think so. After all, that seems to be an annual item on the LA Rams shopping list, doesn't it?

What are his chances of making the roster?

Before he suffered a knee injury, I had expected him to have a very good chance of making the LA Rams practice squad. But with an injury that will keep him out of action for a few weeks, he has a steep uphill climb to earn a roster spot of any kind with the LA Rams.

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Worse yet, with the release of the initial Rams depth chart, he appears to be the seventh player on the depth chart at the position. I have little hope that he can make up the ground between himself and his teammates without full availability in all three preseason games. He could earn a slot on the Rams practice squad, but I would not be surprised if he fails to do so.