The Los Angeles Rams needed to build a better run-defense.
While the 2017 season was a successful one in turning around a franchise that had long suffered, the Rams’ issues at stopping the ground game was magnified throughout. DT Sebastian Joseph-Day, the 195th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, is suited to be a run-stopping defensive lineman. The relationship is a win-win.
Like every draft pick—especially those picked in the later rounds like Joseph-Day was in the 6th round—it’s important to keep in mind that despite the positives, there should always be a grain of salt taken. Joseph-Day is not expected to make an immediate contribution, but knowing the Rams have another guy who can play against the run is comforting to say the least.
He played a five-technique at Rutgers as a three-year starter in their 3-4 defense, so the transition to Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips’ system shouldn’t be all that difficult.
The defensive line is filled with talent and experience, so Joseph-Day might not stay a five-technique (the defensive end position in a 3-4 defense). He was listed around 295, which is a hair light for the position although on the Rams’ official team site his weight is up to 315.
He could see time all over the line to see where he best fits, so at this moment his battle might be at every position on the line.
Joseph-Day is not a polished product, so he might not make the field as an every-down guy. At Rutgers—where he was an every down guy— he was a much better run-defender than he was a pass-rusher. While he was quick off the line and possesses the hand skills, he was not a bull-rusher.
Joseph-Day did a solid job cementing his frame in the running lane to cut off the running back. He was not a guy who make a lot a tackles, but his play was no less important. His smaller stature makes him vulnerable to down blocks and seals.
I would expect him that when he is brought in, it’s in run-situations.
Chances of making the final roster (7/10)
There is plenty to like about Joseph-Day, and it’s understandable why the Rams took him in the draft. He has the tools coming in. His hand skills are impressive, and his awareness is solid against the run. He just needs the time and tutelage.
His pass-defense needs to improve if he wants to be a starter in the future. While he was not often driven back, he was not driving anyone else back, either. Learning from the likes of Phillips, Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald will be a great thing for SJD.