Now that we have had time to let the NFL Draft digest, we can look at each of the Los Angeles Rams’ selections and really dive into whether or not each player will be a good fit or not.
Most of the players drafted may have surprised a lot of fans when the name first flashed across the ticker, but as time passed, each pick felt better, and the Rams overall draft was graded rather respectively.
There was one player, however, that did not leave fans stupefied. In fact, most fans and analysts likely rejoiced that the Rams were able to steal this player in the 3rd round. Could he be the steal of the entire draft?
Terrell Lewis: The Biggest Steal Of The 2020 NFL Draft?
Terrell Lewis is a physical specimen. Shocker there as he played at Alabama for Nick Saban. But for real, at 6’5 262 pounds, Lewis is NFL ready when it comes to his size. That was never a question. His durability was, however. His injury history is ultimately what led to his draft slide.
In a report from Tony Pauline, he said that nearly half of the teams had medically failed Lewis. Here is the full snippet from Pauline’s report:
“A number of teams, dare I say half the league, have medically failed Terrell Lewis of Alabama. Lewis missed most of the 2017 season and all of the 2018 campaign, a total of 25 games, with separate injuries. Lewis tore a ligament in his elbow during the first game of his sophomore season and suffered a torn ACL in his right knee the following summer, which sidelined him for all of 2018. There’s no denying that Lewis is a terrific 3-4 outside linebacker prospect for the next level when healthy and at the top of his game. I grade Lewis as a second-round prospect off his game film, but if he takes a drastic drop on draft weekend, we’ll all know why.”
So while drafting a player in the first or second round with a checkered injury history carries a lot of risks, taking this same player in the 3rd round or later ends up turning into a huge value pick if the player can stay healthy and play up to their potential.
Let’s take a look at what Lewis can do when he is on the field and how he can become a dominant pass-rusher for the Rams.
The Rams top-two edge rushers from 2019, Dante Fowler, and Clay Matthews, are no longer with the team. Leonard Floyd was signed as a free agent from Chicago but he has yet to prove to be a valuable pass-rushing asset. He is a very versatile linebacker, and I actually highlighted what his skill set will bring to the defense in a previous article. A good pick-up on a one-year contract, but he may not be a double-digit sack guy.
Samson Ebukam has flashed his talent and ability in the form of 4.5 sacks last season. He will certainly revel in the opportunity of more playing time, and we could see an uptick in production.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo was considered a steal when he was drafted in the later rounds out of the University of Oklahoma. His 1.5 sacks in 2019 are not an indicator of his talent, but he just hasn’t been able to get on the field very much. That could change if the Rams and DC Brandon Staley use a rotational approach. This is very plausible with how the outside linebacker corps is set and bodes well for the potential of Okoronkwo.
But this is also where the subject of this article comes in: Terrell Lewis.
Lewis brings a skill set that is elite in terms of size and speed. He has tremendous first-step quickness and that will translate immediately. One exciting pass-rush move that he displayed often was his quick jab step to the outside, and then he quickly chops over the lineman and shoots up the gap in the center of the line, like he was shot out of a cannon. Watch #24 below.
Imagine this lining up next to Aaron Donald… Adding that kind of speed and quickness from the outside will only open things up for defense, and in the grand scheme, even benefit Donald.
Now watch this nasty spin move.
The biggest thing with Terrell Lewis right now is that he is more of a projection, as opposed to a finished product. The intangibles are there, and he flashed some of this promise at Alabama. At this point, he is a ball of clay, and it will be up to the Rams and Brandon Staley to mold him into the best version of himself that he can be.
Luckily, Staley has a pretty good track record with outside linebackers and edge rushers. If he can stay healthy, Terrell Lewis could end up being the steal of the draft.