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2017 Rams Roster Preview: LB Kevin Davis, The Technician

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Kevin Davis was one of the most productive linebackers in the country in 2016. Can he land a job with the NFL’s Rams in 2017?

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Colorado St. LB Kevin Davis
Colorado St. LB Kevin Davis
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Colorado State Rams LB Kevin Davis made a name for himself as one of the most productive defenders in the country in 2016.

As a UDFA whom the Rams picked up after the 2017 NFL Draft, Davis will have to take advantage of the next few months to earn a job for this season.

A milkid who grew up in Germany, Davis was recruited to CSU out of Fountain-Ft Carson High School. In front of him at DE in high school? Fellow Los Angeles Rams DE Morgan Fox. His former high school teammate landed on the Rams’ practice squad last year with two spells on the 53-man roster and some game time late in the season.

Could the “sure-tacklingDavis find a similar path in his rookie year?

Roster Battle

The front seven under new Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips is one of the biggest personnel unknowns going into 2017. Take Davis.

He was a 4-3 weakside linebacker in college. With OLB Connor Barwin likely holding that side down for the starting job, does Davis slide in as depth there or as the WILB? So just like yesterday’s roster preview piece on DL Omarius Bryant, it’s a bit hard to project the position clutter for Davis.

If he’s playing inside, you’ve got Bryce Hager, 2016 Rams Rookie of the Year Cory Littleton, 2016 NFL Draft sixth-round pick Josh Forrest (who’s coming off of an ACL injury), Reggie Northrup and Nicholas Grigsby likely all competing for snaps behind Alec Ogletree and Mark Barron as the presumptive starters.

If he’s outside, Barwin and Robert Quinn lead the depth chart. Fox, Carlos Thompson and 2017 NFL Draft picks Samson Ebukam and Ejuan Price are the mix-ins.

Expectations

Davis is likely fighting for special teams as his avenue to make the 53-man, but I’ll hold out a small chance as a run-stopping technician OLB. The practice squad is an option too, but with two rookie draft picks in front of him, he’s going to have to outshine his peers to a significant degree to leapfrog them just to make the PS.

Chances of Making Final Roster (0.5/10)

The Rams clearly wanted to get depth at OLB with two draft picks at the position. That clog makes it hard to see how Davis could make the 53-man. I think his best chance is likely to put up some good work and land on a practice squad for a team that comes out of the preseason exceedingly thin at OLB. It’s not an infrequent set of circumstances, so Davis has a good chance of keeping his pro career going.

It is going to take some good practice work to build up positive word of mouth from the Rams’ coaching staff and front office as well as some good tape from the preseason to shop.