Sat, 24 Jul 2021

Position battle preview: Second EDGE spot

Los Angeles Rams
21 Jul 2021, 18:24 GMT+10

Stu Jackson

A handful of offseason departures have created openings for multiple key roles on both the Rams' offense and their defense that will be closely monitored during Rams Training Camp presented by UNIFY Financial Credit Union.

TheRams.com will be previewing the candidates for each ahead of camp. After examining nickel cornerbacks first, we will now take a look at the second EDGE spot.

The skinny

In 2020, it was Leonard Floyd and Samson Ebukam manning each EDGE spot on the Rams' defense. While they brought back Floyd on a four-year deal earlier this offseason, Ebukam signed a two-year with the 49ers as an unrestricted free agent, opening up the starting job opposite Floyd.

The candidates (in alphabetical order) John Daka

# DL

Height: 6-2 Weight: 227 lbs College: James Madison

Experience: One season

Notes: Daka is listed as a defensive end, but photos from organized team activities showed him working out at outside linebacker, so it's worth including him among the candidates. He was claimed by the Rams off waivers from the Jets in early May. Prior to that, the Jets had signed him to a futures deal in January. Daka originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent signee of the Ravens after producing 67 total tackles (28 for loss) 16.5 sacks, 13 QB hits four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 16 games for James Madison University in 2019.

Chris Garrett

#48 OLB

Height: 6-4 Weight: 245 lbs College: Concordia College St. Paul

Experience: Rookie

Notes: The Rams used their final draft pick (Round 7, No. 252 overall) to select Garrett, a product of Division II Concordia St. Paul who had a record-setting career. He finished his final season at CSP (2019) with 69 total tackles (20.5 for loss), 14 sacks, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, seven QB hits and five pass breakups.

Justin Hollins

#58 LB

Height: 6-5 Weight: 248 lbs College: Oregon

Experience: Two seasons (one with Rams)

Notes: Part of the reason the Rams claimed Hollins off waivers from the Broncos in early September last year was because of his familiarity with then-defensive coordinator Brandon Staley's scheme - he was learning both inside linebacker and outside linebacker in Denver. However, his primary position was outside linebacker, so he could be in the mix here. Hollins appeared in all 16 regular season games and both of the Rams' playoff games last year, collecting 25 total tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble.

Justin Lawler

#53 OLB

Height: 6-4 Weight: 265 lbs College: Southern Methodist

Experience: Three seasons

Notes: After spending the 2019 season on injured reserve following season-ending foot surgery in the preseason, Lawler spent the entire 2020 season on injured reserve with a foot injury. He did appear in all 16 games as a rookie in 2018 (six total tackles), though, and at 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds gives Los Angeles additional length to bookend Floyd's frame.

Terrell Lewis

#52 OLB

Height: 6-5 Weight: 262 lbs College: Alabama

Experience: One season

Notes: Knee issues limited Lewis to just eight games as a rookie, but when on the field he primarily contributed on defense with some special teams action mixed in, chipping in five total tackles and two sacks. If he can stay healthy, his upside is massive - one NFL analyst leading into the 2020 draft compared him to "a bigger Von Miller."

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

#45 OLB

Height: 6-2 Weight: 253 lbs College: Oklahoma

Experience: Two seasons (was on Physically Unable to Perform list for first nine weeks of 2018 rookie season, then declared inactive for remaining seven regular season games and three playoff games)

Notes: After missing his rookie year due to foot surgery and being in a reserve role the last two seasons, this upcoming season presents Okoronkwo with his best chance yet at getting a starting job. He appeared in 10 regular season games last year, finishing with 10 total tackles, one sack, three QB hits and one pass breakup.

Maximilian Roberts

#57 OLB

Height: 6-1 Weight: 250 lbs College: Boston College

Experience: Rookie

Notes: An undrafted free agent signee out of Boston College, Roberts has experience playing defensive end (Boston College as a grad transfer, Maine) and linebacker (Fordham). He registered 22 total tackles, 4.5 sacks and six tackles for loss for Boston College last season.

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