There is a weakness to every great empire.
The Los Angeles Rams defense (we’ve yet to see if they’ll be an empire) is no different.
The EDGE/OLB/outside pass rushers leave something to be desired. That’s not to say that they aren’t talented or wont perform, but for a team — and in particular a defense — that has Superbowl aspirations, it’d make sense to equip Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips with as much pass rushing ammo as you can.
There’s nothing wrong with having a multitude of guys who can get after the quarterback. Not only does it help largely having dependable depth, but the defensive line is a position that rotates often. If you have a stable of guys that can rotate in-and-out routinely, you stress an offensive line in every way possible.
Recently, the Rams bounced from “okay let’s take a look at Junior Galette”, to “we’re likely to sign him if he passes his physical”, to “his physical was fine but we’re going to pass for private reasons”.
Yes, that’s quite the journey.
Through all that, the Rams also activated former defensive tackle (primarily a 3-technique) Dominique Easley from the physically unable to perform list. That news is relevant because the Rams revealed that Easley who’s never played on the EDGE, will suddenly start taking snaps out there.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but my brain starts to float elsewhere in the galaxy thinking about potential additions the Rams could make at EDGE. Somebody proven to balance out the youth they currently have. Somebody that’s not too expensive both salary cap and trade compensation wise. Somebody that has shown the ability to get after the quarterback in a league where it’s crucial to do so.
That’s how I landed on Philadelphia Eagles defensive end/EDGE Steven Means.
Means is a 27-year old four-year veteran who’s played for four NFL teams, though he’s currently on the Eagles’ roster. Means only has two career sacks, though he has another 5.5 sacks in the preseason. The Eagles are obviously stacked at the defensive end position, employing first-round pick Derek Barnett, Brandon Graham, Chris Long, Michael Bennett, and rookies Josh Sweat and Joe Ostman.
What does this mean for Means?
Well, I’m not really sure.
He’s shown an ability to play, I know that. Means may be able to stick on that roster, and I’d honestly be a little shocked if he didn’t. Teams just don’t give up on pass-rushing talent for no reason. Regardless, the Eagles have a ton of depth at the position. Whether Means reaches the market or doesn’t, I think the Rams would be smart to pursue the opportunity. If he’s a free agent, great, sign him when he becomes available. If he isn’t, I’d offer a late-round pick, or a player-for-player trade that could benefit both teams.
I’ve created a highlight tape for Means, so-to-speak. Take a look at some of his ability to rush the passer (the whole thread has useful info):
Here is the Steven Means highlight tape, and this doesn't even include what he's done in this preseason.— Sosa (@QBsMVP) August 22, 2018
It's clear I'm high on him, and think it'd be smart for the Rams to pursue.
I know @jco3215 is high on him, what about the Eagles boys (@BenjaminSolak @MichaelKistNFL)? pic.twitter.com/SQGyzfPsVH
What do you guys think? Is Means worth exploring as a free agent? A trade for a late-round pick (conditional sixth) or a player (WR Mike Thomas)?
Let me know what you think of the idea.