2013 Free Agent Breakdown: Linebackers

USA TODAY Sports

The Rams were lucky enough to find Jo-Lonn Dunbar last year. Can they repeat the same success for the strong side, and finally give the Rams a capable, fully functional linebacking unit?

Philip Wheeler, Raiders

Wheeler nailed it last year. He signed a one-year prove it deal with the Raiders, and he proved it. The problem? Nobody noticed. It's likely that Wheeler will still come cheap, but his performance last year cannot be overlooked. He was impressive as a pass rusher, but he's only an average run defender.

Of course, the Rams probably wouldn't look to him as a three-down back, but he's capable enough after playing on the strong side for the Raiders. He's the highest graded free agent on the list.

(1,044 Snaps Played) COMB TOTAL AST SACK FF INT PD
2012 Regular Season 109 78 31 3.0 2 0 6

PFF Grade: +9.9


Kaluka Maiava, Browns

You want the Rams to pick up someone from Cleveland? You must be joking. Another under-the-radar player, Maiava excels in coverage. This could help the Rams seemingly chronic inability to cover tight ends, which is crucial given the division they play in.

He isn't the most efficient tackler (being a bit undersized, which would probably mean he'd only be in for specialized situations), but Frank Bush was hired for a reason. He'd be a good compliment to Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who doesn't specialize in coverage.

(498 Snaps Played)
COMB TOTAL AST SACK FF INT PD
2012 Regular Season 53
35
18
2.0
0
0 3

PFF Grade: +7.9


Leroy Hill, Seahawks

Ah, poaching from the division rival I see. The Seahawks started playing Macolm Smith late in the season, which may tip their hand regarding their plans to Hill, so he might be a 'bigger' name to hit free agency. Age isn't on his side (and his best years are behind him), but he's good in both coverage and run stopping, so he'd be a welcome addition to the Rams.

He has his share of off the field issues, so he may not fit the four pillars. Wait- what the hell am I talking about? Send him down to St. Louis.

(514 Snaps Played)
COMB TOTAL AST SACK FF INT PD
2012 Regular Season 47
31
16
1.5
1
0 0

PFF Grade: +4.7


Moise Fokou, Colts

Fokou has had a few injury problems, but he's athletic and strong. The Colts may or may not resign him, given that he's been more of a role player of late, but he could mostly like fit as a 4-3 OLB after being a 3-4 LILB. He might be a good pickup for the team in a situational sense.

(390 Snaps Played)
COMB TOTAL AST SACK FF INT PD
2012 Regular Season 43
31
12
1.0
1
0 2

PFF Grade: +0.8


Thomas Howard, Bengals

Howard tore his ACL in 2012, which led to Vontaze Burfict playing. He's getting up there in age, but could be a good situational player- probably exactly what the Rams are looking for. He has good size for an SLB, and has played well in the past, but he needs to prove he is healthy.

(62 Snaps Played)
COMB TOTAL AST SACK FF INT PD
2012 Regular Season 3
3
0
1
0
0 1

PFF Grade:+2.3



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