clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2016 Rams Roster Preview: LB Josh Forrest Set to Earn His Stripes

New, comments

2016 NFL Draft sixth-round draft pick Josh Forrest has a lot to prove in his first offseason, but the team didn't take a chance on him just for the hell of it.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Forrest is a stereotypical Jeff Fisher selection.

At 6'3", 250 pounds, Forrest is a heavy set linebacker with a physical play style. He fights on every play and is a safe bet to finish a tackle if he gets his hands on a ball carrier. He generally has great understanding of his assignments, too. I can almost hear Fisher screaming in the war room, "He's just a football player, damn it!"

During his career at Kentucky, Forrest spent two seasons as a starting linebacker. He accumulated 232 total tackles, 16 of which came behind the line of scrimmage. A majority of his plays happened between the tackles, but he had moments of brilliance that enabled him to get a jump on perimeter plays and passing plays. Forrest has to rely on his mental processing for plays outside of the tackle box because he is not an impressive athlete.

With the exception of his broad jump, Forrest had a poor outing at the NFL Combine. As is usually the case, Forrest's poor athleticism, namely his stiff hips and lack of speed, show up on tape. That is not to say Forrest can not overcome his lack of physical traits, but it is going to require a good deal of focus and extra effort.

Roster Battle

Forrest has no chance of starting. Drafted players often have a better shot at a starting role than undrafted rookies or small contract free agents, but the 2016 Los Angeles Rams are set at starting linebacker with Alec Ogletree, Mark Barron and Akeem Ayers. Backups Bryce Hager and Cameron Lynch (roster preview), two incumbent Rams players, will almost certainly snatch roster spots, too. Assuming the Rams stick to maintaining six linebacker slots on the active roster as they did last season, that leaves one open spot for Forrest.

Among the last tier of linebackers in camp, Forrest is the only one drafted by the team. Four of the other five linebackers competing with Forrest are undrafted rookies. While Forrest has to prove his worth to the team like anyone else, the team having invested tangible value in him will force the team to be a little more patient with him than with other players.

Expectations

Forrest is smart and physical. He is not going to make many 'wow' plays, but he will consistently execute his assignment and allow the players around him to make plays. He can be a fine facilitator in a pinch. For a team that appears to be set on their starting linebackers, investing in Forrest as a backup should pay dividends.

Chances of Making Final Roster (8.5/10)

There is always room for a fluke injury or a lingering health concern that the team was previously unaware of, but Forrest is a strong bet to make the roster. The front office spent a sixth-round pick on him and they are going to be more than willing to see if they can get something out of him, especially with how few picks the team had. Few players are 100% locks to survive camp cuts, but Forrest is almost certainly going to earn himself an active roster spot as a rookie.