Meet your Rams Linebackers
By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
As the Los Angeles Rams prepare for another competitive season. Their newly acquired collection of a new talent including an All-Pro Cornerback, an All-Pro Defensive Tackle and Superbowl winning Cornerback has been well documented. By teaming this newly acquired talent with the recently signed, reigning Defensive Player of the Year, the Rams are fully loaded and ready to, not only, defend their NFC West Title from last year, they are looking to take a major step in their growth this season. Multiple players will benefit from the presence of these new additions to the Rams and the immediate beneficiaries would be their young linebacking corp…
Former Alabama Crimson Tide Safety Mark Barron is expected to lead this linebacking corp. in the coming season. Washington Husky Cory Littleton along with Georgia Bulldog Ramik Wilson, Eastern Washington Eagles Samson Ebukam along with Baylor Bear and Bryce Hager is expected to be part of that rotation as well. Each of these guys brings some experience and versatility to the table and each of them should be ecstatic with the wealth of talent that has been brought in to complement the Rams defense.
Defensive Coordinator Wade Philips mentioned he is “concerned” with regards to Mark Barron’s health and availability for their opening game. Sean supported this concern by stating they are “taking things day by day” with Mark. McVay went on to say that “with some of the workouts and the things he’s taken part in; he’s not feeling as good as we’d like; really most importantly not as good as Mark would like to feel.”
Having proved to be an adequate replacing for the former linebacker, veteran, Alec Olgetree, and the Marc Barron, Cory Littleton will get a chance to the play caller of the defense this season. Ogletree’s trade in the offseason opened an opportunity for the undrafted free agent. Time will tell if Littleton can handle the play-calling duties while continuing to make plays.
The Rams found another competitor in undrafted free agent and former Georgia Bulldog Ramik Wilson. This fourth-round draft pick and 4-year veteran for Tampa, Fla. is looking to capitalize on his opportunity to make plays on this defense. His 17 starts with the Kansas City Chief’s, over the past 3 years, has provided him valuable experience which he will no doubt rely on when he gets on the field this season.
Son of former University of Texas All American, Philadelphia Eagles, and Denver Bronco Bryce Hager was an All-State Running Back and linebacker in the state of Texas himself. He was a major contributor on special teams last season and filled in nicely when given the opportunity. Having played in every game in his 4-year career, Hager is working towards expanding his role in this coming season.
Lastly, Samson Ebukam is also a contributing member of this linebacking corp.. In his third season, this fourth-round draft pick out of Eastern Washington alum has earned a role on this ferocious defense. This Portland, OR., native blew the Rams with his pre-draft workout, running
a sub 4.5 in the forty-yard dash and jumping nearly 11’ in the broad in addition to his 39” vertical. Ebukam’s explosiveness at the linebacker position adds more versatility to the Rams linebacking group.
When asked, how much fun is he having fitting in these new pieces; How much if his game plan is he adjusting to fit the new players they have? Wade answered this question by stating “Most of the (defensive) game plan is adjusting to the players we have. So, we try to utilize what they do well, we got some guys that do a lot of things well; so, it gives us a lot of versatility. Being really sound is key in the first game against a team with a new coach.”
This group of linebackers has a chance to reap the benefits of playing with a scary defensive line in front of them as well as having a pair of lockdown corners playing next to them. That stout defensive line will, often times, command double teams and will surely open clear lanes to the ballcarrier or quarterback for whoever is on the field at linebacker. It will be fun to see who it is that steps up to claims playing time at the linebacking spot on this team.
In their first game of the season, it appeared the Rams needed one half of football, to get back into playing shape, on offensive and defensive. The linebacking group tallied 15 tackles and an interception on Monday night against the Oakland Raiders QB David Carr. The Rams defense did hold the Raiders to under 100 yards rushing and was able to get 3 interceptions in their first win of the 2018 season, proving that Rams fans have a lot to be excited about this upcoming season.
As it appears the Rams have pushed all their chips into the middle of the table by adding the multitude of talent they have this off-season. I have been graciously provided access to see how they efficient they are in practice and how their Head Coach does a great job of setting the tone and providing a winning environment. After I thorough reviewed of their schedule, I see three possible losses on their schedule; barring any major injuries of course. Please let me know your thoughts and predictions about the Rams upcoming season, by commenting in the comment section at www.whatsgoodinsports.com.