When the Los Angeles Rams made the decision to trade ILB Alec Ogletree, they opened a large roster hole in the middle of their 3-4 defense. Not only was Ogletree a starter and someone who the Rams heavily invested into both draft- and contract-extension wise, he was the leader of the defense.
So while it’s likely that ILB Cory Littleton has earned the first crack at the starting job left from Tree’s departure, it does open a ILB spot deeper down the depth chart.
That’s where rookie undrafted free agent Tegray Scales comes into play.
Scales is a former Indiana Hoosiers LB who was highly productive in college totaling 365 tackles through four years. Unfortunately for Scales, he was not drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft. Nothing really negates his production to the point of depriving him of being picked including solid athleticism, size may have played a factor there.
Inside linebacker is one of the Rams’ most wide-open battles on the roster. With a ton of other positions already locked in, the ILB room has space for one of these young guys to carve out a role. ILB Mark Barron headlines the group as the veteran and will hold the starting spot at the “MoLB” position. Littleton is being given first-crack at the “MikeLB” position. While by all accounts he’s doing a fine job thus far, LB play can never really be evaluated until the hitting begins. ILB’s Bryce Hager and Ramik Wilson have both been stop-gap starters in the past (moreso Wilson with the Kansas City Chiefs) though neither has impressed to the point of locking them in for snaps at this piont. Rookie ILB’s Micah Kiser (fifth-round rookie) and Travin Howard (seventh-round rookie) join Scales in the fight for an ILB roster spot.
Though it seems like a laundry list of guys, Scales comes in as a highly-productive LB with good enough athleticism and a very high football IQ giving him a real chance to crack the 53-man roster. If he can endear himself to Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel, that’ll only help his chances.
Though it’s not highly likely a guy like Scales makes a major impact as a undrafted rookie free agent, he’s one of the few UDFA’s with a real shot to crack the roster. And as I mentioned above, he could have a real role as a Special Teams player, with all units losing players who were highly productive such as Littleton.
Chances of Making Final Roster (5.5/10)
It’ll be tough to get it done, but Scales has the production, smarts, and character to make an impression on the Rams early and often. If he can jump veterans like Ramik Wilson or Bryce Hager, he absolutely could find his spot on the 53-man roster.