What does latest player claimed off Bears waivers bring to Rams?

Chicago Bears Sterling Weatherford
Chicago Bears Sterling Weatherford / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

While it may seem a bit late for the LA Rams to be signing free agents to come aboard for training camp, this team continues to leverage their disappointing finish to the 2022 NFL season. What do I mean? Having ended the season with a disappointing 5-12 record, the LA Rams have a rather high priority in placing claims on players waived by other NFL teams.

And as if to demonstrate their fascination with that high priority, the LA Rams roster grew by one as the team successfully claimed former Chicago Bears LB Sterling Weatherford off waivers. So what do we know about Sterling Weatherford?

III: Safety/Linebacker hybrid

One of the first things to jump out about Sterling Weatherford is that he is a 6-foot-4 221-pound safety/linebacker hybrid. We have discussed at length the preference of LA Rams DC Raheem Morris for players who fit a Super Saiyan type, as he sought with former Rams ILB/DB Jake Gervase. The intent is to use those hybrid players in nickel and dime packages in place of a standard ILB to afford better pass defense on crossing routes and running backs slipping out of the backfield.

II: Second-year veteran

The truth of the matter is that Sterling Weatherford is a very athletic 24-year-old defensive back whose athleticism and size allow him to be plugged into various defensive roles. His draft profile describes a Day 3 projected defensive back with solid cover skills, power, and NFL size. He simply needs a bit more polish and refinement to optimize his competitiveness.

While considered a linebacker and playing in a linebacker role in preseason games, Weatherford was a safety for Miami of Ohio.

I: Outstanding special teams player

While he was exclusively a special teamer for the Chicago Bears, he did manage to account for four tackles in special teams coverage. But he showed far more for the Indianapolis Colts in preseason last year. In three preseason games, he was on fire, He recorded 26 tackles (led team in preseason tackles), two pass defenses, and recorded one interception.

He was cut as the Colts tried to re-sign him to their practice squad, but he ended up with the Chicago Bears. Curiously, he did not see any action on defense, but he has the chops to play in any number of roles.

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Just a camp body? If we're honest, that term could be used to describe much of the Rams roster right now. There is little proof available in terms of which player will truly stand out in training camp and earn a roster spot. But the key to doing so is excelling at special teams and leveraging that to work into the rotation.

If that is truly the case, then Sterling Weatherford is already halfway there.