The St. Louis Rams added to their collection of experienced linebackers again today. Free agent Ben Leber, recently of Minnesota, signed a one-year deal with the Rams today. Picking St. Louis over division rivals, the Seattle Seahawks.
It's a good get for the Rams. Leber joins veteran pickups Zac Diles and Brady Poppinga to put some experience, muscle and skill on the outside of budding superstar James Laurinaitis. One of the biggest problems the Rams outside linebackers had last season was the inability to play schematically sound and get to the ball. Leber played on the weakside with the Vikings, and could play both outside spots here.
Leber had been a name mentioned in connection with the Rams several time during the offseason. Paul Ferraro, the Rams linebackers coach, came to the Rams in 2009 after coaching special teams in Minnesota, so he knows Leber well. Leber plays well in coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, he was one of the better outside linebackers in coverage. PFF's stats aren't the end all, be all (particularly their overall rankings), but it does offer a nice guide.
That brings the Rams' total free agent additions up to an even dozen, veteran free agents, and they might not be done yet. Notice most of the free agent pickups address needs on defense and complement the young core players on the unit? The Rams should have a very good, very underrated defense this year.
UPDATE: It's not a done deal yet, per the Rams.