The best advice Dwight Schrute ever got from Michael Scott was this: K-I-S-S—keep it simple stupid.
The same advice can be given to S Afolabi Laguda, an UDFA who can make this Los Angeles Rams team and how he can contribute during the regular season if learns to incorporate the basics of tackling into his game.
In Colorado, Laguda was the man. He was a team captain his senior year after three seasons of working his way up the Colorado ladder. After finishing a year of community college ball (Butler Community College)—where he was an All-Conference honorable mention—he contributed to the Buffs special teams unit and became a great success. His efforts earned him team accolades as one of the most outstanding men on the unit.
When he was given his shot on the starting defense, he earned the privilege to stay there. His senior year, he started all 12 games and made 57 tackles, six for a loss, four pass deflections and led the team with three forced fumbles. He also had the most defensive snaps played (1,029) in two seasons prior to 2017.
Laguda knows how to make plays and is a consistent player. But his problem lies in the consistency of his fundamentals.
The free safety position currently includes Lamarcus Joyner, Marqui Christian, Laguda, and Steven Parker, a fellow UDFA from Oklahoma. It’s clear that Joyner is not only the starter, but he’s the most talented and balanced of the group.
While Christian is a veteran, it’s doubted he has an upper hand on the new guys like Laguda.
Laguda will also have to compete for time on special teams, and he’s likely to get it. His best shot at making the team lies with that unit.
Laguda’s biggest concern is his form tackling. Like a lot of the younger guys at the DB positions, he likes to his guys with a shoulder pop, dives at the ankles and worst of all, tackle high. While he comes down on the ball to make stops on short passes and running plays, his technique on tackling needs to get back to basics.
He will make his presence on special teams before he makes it on defense.
Chances of making the final roster (6/10)
I personally believe Laguda and Parker stand a better chance at backing up Joyner than Christian does. But if Laguda doesn’t show that his tackling is sound and reliable, then he will not see the field at the FS position outside of the preseason.
He is a solid weapon at special teams, which gives him a solid chance at making the final roster.