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2017 Rams Roster Preview: OLB Samson Ebukam, Projections And Rejections

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Can the EWU product shine in his rookie season?

Eastern Washington DL Samson Ebukam
Eastern Washington DL Samson Ebukam
Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.

And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.

Judges 15: 15-16

Samson is one of the great characters of the Bible, a demigod Nazirite who REALLY didn’t like foxes (shout out to those of you who knew comin in you were gonna get this top shelf biblical humor).

Samson Ebukam could be one of the great characters of the 2017 Los Angeles Rams. Born in Nigeria, his family moved to Portland, Oregon, where he excelled in high school both in football and track and field. Without many offers, Ebukam went to Eastern Washington to play outside linebacker and thrived.

Now with the Rams after being selected in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, perhaps he wants to let that hair grow out this year. Just sayin.

Roster Battle

I laid out the OLB depth battle in the Cassanova McKinzy roster preview:

Beyond [Robert] Quinn and [Connor] Barwin, it’s a crowded depth field, and that’s where McKinzy will need to stand out. Two of the Rams’ 2017 NFL Draft class will certainly be popular options in Samson Ebukam and Ejuan Price. We’ll have to see if any of the listed DEs bounces out to OLB; I’ll note here that the Rams’ official team roster lists Price as a DE. Similarly, Phillips may kick an inside LB outside; again, the official team roster lists Cory Littleton [roster preview], the Rams’ 2016 Rookie of the Year, as an OLB. Otherwise, the only other options are Carlos Thompson [roster preview] and McKinzy.

I’d likely slide Ebukam in as the primary backup to Quinn and/or Barwin, but we’ll have to see how he lines up when training camp breaks on Saturday.

Expectations

Ebukam has shown the explosive upside and motor to make an impact. However he is raw as a pass rusher from an NFL perspective. Expect him to play some special teams and to focus on his pass rush techniques during his rookie season.

Chances of making the final roster (9/10)

The Rams will need playmakers in the pass rush department. Ebukam doesn't have all of the tools but he is athletic and his motor is impressive. The Rams need pass rushers and its not often that a team will let a fourth-round choice go. The larger question is if the practice squad offers a soft landing spot as he adjusts to a significant leap in the level of competition.