Which Defensive Lineman Will The Rams Sign Before Training Camp?
The Los Angeles Rams addressed several team needs in the draft. The one exception is the void left by Von Miller. Miller’s pass rush ability was crucial to the Rams’ journey to the Super Bowl and it now seems like a necessity to have a proactive pass rusher defensive lineman.
There are several quality veterans still left on the free-agent market. Please take a moment to cast your vote on which defensive lineman the Rams will sign!
The case for Akiem Hicks
Hicks would be a departure from the Miller model. He is a true lineman, while Miller was an outside linebacker. Hicks would bring more help against the rushing attack. The Rams could have used that help last season. Hicks does bring a pass rush threat as well. He tallied five sacks last season in nine games. Although, it should be pointed out that he missed games due to an ankle injury.
The Rams also have a stable of young speedy edge rushers just chomping at the bit to get playing time. Adding a veteran at outside linebacker would limit their playing time.
The case for Jadeveon Clowney
Has Clowney played up to his first overall draft pick status? No. Is he a quality pass rusher deserving of a rotational spot on the Rams. Yes.
The Rams are a great spot for Clowney for a few reasons. He doesn’t need to be the best player on the defensive line. He only needs to role player in rotation with the other edge rushers. Also, high-profile players like him have thrived in their time with the Rams. Odell Beckham Jr, Matthew Stafford, and Miller all revitalized stagnant careers once on the Rams. Not only that but Cory Littleton and Michael Brockers looked better playing next to Aaron Donald.
Clowney logged 11 sacks and 53 pressures in 2021. He also uncharacteristically missed 8 tackles
Clowney is also a few years younger than the top-end free agent talent remaining unsigned.
The case for Carlos Dunlap
The last few seasons for Dunlap haven’t looked great. In 2019, he forced a trade out of Cincinnati citing how he wasn’t being used properly. He ended up on the Seahawks. The Seahawks essentially kept him as a rotational edge rusher and cut him after the 2021 season. This might lead most to believe his playing days are over. But last season he recorded 10 sacks, which is the second-most of his career. He also managed to do this while playing fewer than 500 snaps for only the second time in his career. His personal best of 15 sacks in 2015 was achieved while playing 949 snaps.
He certainly isn’t the pass rusher he used to be, but Dunlap still has gas in the tank and similarly to Clowney could find LA to be a well-suited fit for a player like him. Also adding another former Seahawk would be a feather in the cap of the Rams