On Monday, I looked at WR Isiah Ferguson who comes to the NFL level with plenty of size, middling production and a lack of experience facing NFL-caliber talent out of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Syracuse linebacking product Cameron Lynch is the anti-Isiah Ferguson.
He doesn't have the size. He's got the stats and then some to spare. And having played in the ACC's Atlantic Division the last two years, Lynch has seen plenty of NFLers, current and future.
In Papa's Bryce Hager preview, he looked at the linebacking position as it's shaping up on the depth chart. Again like wide receiver and cornerback, it's a matter of a top five in James Laurinaitis, Alec Ogletree, Akeem Ayers, Jo-Lonn Dunbar and Daren Bates (though this top five is more arguable than those other two positions) leading the question of who slots in behind.
The candidates as it stands consist of Lynch, Hager, fellow UDFA Keshaun Malone and Marshall McFadden. The issue for all four is that the Rams carried five linebackers on the 53-man roster last year, swapping Ray Ray Armstrong for Ayers over the last year. So the battle here comes down to those four trying to pick up a surprise sixth spot or, even less probable, leapfrogging one of the five for an active slot.
As is the case with any undrafted free agent, they have the buffer of low expectations. Whereas people expect/demand a Todd Gurley or Rob Havenstein come in and contribute immediately (when healthy...), nobody's asking anything of Lynch. I might note, though, that Lynch isn't the moonshot some of the other Rams are who we've talked about in the preview series. Lynch was a pretty notable recruit in 2011, the #77 linebacking prospect per Scouts and the #41 LB per Rivals. Over the last two years at Syracuse, he totaled 166 tackles, 24 of which were for a loss, 11 sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions. Heck, even Mike Huguenin ranked him four spots higher than Todd Gurley on his "freaks" list a year ago. So based on his production and competition level, it'd be fair to hold him to a bit of a higher standard than say Keshaun Malone who's coming out of Bacone College...
Chances of Making Final Roster (4/10)
This one was kind of tough. Papa set the bar high for Bryce Hager at 5/10, and I see he and Lynch as the primary candidates for either a sixth LB spot perhaps as a special teams core contributor akin to Daren Bates. But 5/10 assumes that the Rams won't get that out of someone else with more positional value. And if one's a 50/50 shot, certainly the other has to be lower. So on those factors alone, I'll drop Lynch under Hager at 4/10.
But keep an eye out for his name throughout camp and into the preseason. He's definitely the kind of prospect who can make the most out of an opportunity from late July to late August and work his way onto the roster if things fall just right for him.