Tuesday turned out to be an eventful day for the Los Angeles Rams, as General Manager Les Snead pounced on an opportunity to re-tool his roster after a three-game losing streak.
One of the trades announced, included a player-for-player deal, as well as the inclusion of a draft pick. The Baltimore Ravens sent inside linebacker Kenny Young and a 5th-round draft pick to the Rams, in exchange for contract year cornerback Marcus Peters.
The move for Young may detect a hint of desperation, as the Rams lost both Micah Kiser and Bryce Hager to injury, but it seems Hager has returned to health. Regardless, undrafted free agent Troy Reeder drew the past two starts, accumulating a combined 26 tackles, but struggling in coverage and missing too many tackles.
Here are how the numbers shake out from the the rotation the Rams have deployed at linebacker, including the new addition in Young (stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference):
Cory Littleton: 43 targets, 30 completions, 70% completion rate, 273 yards, 9.1 yards/completion, 6.3 yards/target, 0 TD’s, 77.0 rating, 18 blitzes, 1 hurry, 1 pressure, 3.5% missed tackle rate
Troy Reeder: 4 targets, 4 completions, 100% completion rate, 98 yards, 24.5 yards/completion, 24.5 yards/target, 0 TD’s, 118.7 rating, 3 blitzes, 1 hurry, 1 pressure, 13.3% missed tackle rate
Kenny Young: 4 targets, 4 completions, 100% completion rate, 80 yards, 20.0 yards/completion, 20.0 yards/target, 1 TD, 158.3 rating, 7 blitzes, 2 QB knockdowns, 0 pressures, 7.1% missed tackle rate
Taylor Rapp (defacto ILB): 20 targets, 14 completions, 70% completion rate, 119 yards, 8.5 yards/completion, 6.0 yards/target, 85.2 rating, 3 blitzes, 0 pressures, 3.8% missed tackle rate
The juggling between Hager and Reeder — and now the addition of Young — speaks volumes as to what the Rams are trying to do at ILB next to Littleton. They’ve yet to find a player that’s solidified a starting role, so they’ve continued to throw bodies into the fray, hoping one will stand out and earn the role.
Looking at the numbers, the small sample sizes from Reeder and Young are hard to make definitive statements, though both seem like major liabilities in coverage, as was Hager. That is part of the reason why Rapp is continually in place of a second linebacker on passing downs. Rapp has played in over 41% of snaps every game, and those figures would likely have been higher, though an ankle injury dampened his usage the past two weeks.
Young is an explosive and athletic linebacker who doesn’t offer much as a coverage option (so the numbers say), though he could potentially replace Reeder — or Hager — as the early down option who operates with speed and violence, but getting subbed off for Rapp in passing situations.