Though the Los Angeles Rams have made a slew of splashy roster moves this offseason, few players will see as much scrutiny as second-year EDGE Samson Ebukam. When the Rams sent EDGE Robert Quinn to South Beach via trade to join the Miami Dolphins, the runway was cleared for the young Nigerian by way of Portland, Oregon to assume a starter’s role on the outside.
In his first season, Ebukam started two games, played 359 snaps (many on special teams) and registered 31 tackles, 2 sacks and a forced fumble -- solid production in a small sample size. With combine / pro day measurables that rival Denver Broncos EDGE Von Miller’s (including a blazing 4.45 40 and a 39” vertical), he’s got the physical tools to be a stud for the Rams.
Ebukam has been penciled in as a starter at OLB so it’s his job to lose. Rookies Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (roster preview), Justin Lawler (roster preview) and Trevon Young (roster preview) will get their chance to unseat him alongside second-year man Ejuan Price (roster preview), but barring injury or a severe dropoff in play Ebukam is in line for the bulk of the snaps. If the Rams bring back AARP OLB Connor Barwin, there’s a chance Ebukam could slip in to a backup role.
If he can build on last year’s experience and has the mental makeup to be a starter in the NFL (neither is a given), I can see Ebukam registering double digit sacks. Considering that the interior linemen will be wrecking pockets all season and the secondary should net more coverage sacks, it’s not unrealistic. He’ll need to marry a better feel for the game and improved technique to his raw athleticism to make the leap.
Chances of Making Final Roster: (9.5/10)
I don’t see many scenarios where the projected starter flames out and gets cut, so consider #50’s spot on the roster as good as locked. He’ll cede some snaps to developmental guys and may stumble in his second season, but he’ll suit up for the Rams in 2018.