Wikipedia says that Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Justin Lawler is related to legendary Los Angeles Clippers play-by-play guy man Ralph Lawler. Just “related.” No further detail is provided. Perhaps they’re twin brothers. Ralph is famous for inventing “Lawler’s Law” that holds that the first team to 100 on a basketball court will win the game as well as erupting with a satisfied “BINGO!” whenever the Clips hits a three-pointer.
The Rams are not expecting such impactful contributions from a 7th-round 2018 NFL Draft pick, but throughout training camp and the preseason last year Justin Lawler just wouldn’t go away. We spoke of John Franklin-Myers, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, and Samson Ebukam, yet that Lawler guy kept popping up play after play. And he made the 53-man roster last year.
Last season, Lawler played on about half of the Rams’ special teams plays and saw limited action as an EDGE in a few games amounting to a 66.1 PFF grade. He has a good engine that makes up for his moderate speed, but will he make the cut again in 2019?
Barring injuries, finding a home on the edge of the Rams’ pass rush could be tricky for Lawler this year. Dante Fowler, Jr., will start as one of the Rams’ outside backers. Opposite Fowler the competition could be stiff between Clay Matthews (who could potentially spend some time inside as well), Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, and last year’s starter Samson Ebukam. Whoever doesn’t start immediately adds to the position’s depth alongside Morgan Fox who will be back. Then there’s second-year linebacker Trevon Young who made a few plays last season as well. All in all, it could be quite difficult for Lawler to leapfrog so much competition for a roster spot this time around, but he does seem like a strong practice squad candidate.
While Fowler and Matthews will rest for almost the entire preseason, Lawler should get plenty of snaps where he’ll try his best to make it impossible for the Rams to cut him. But the expectation should be for him to hang around as a practice squader and be ready should anyone go down.
Chances of Making Roster (2/10)
The Rams have brought in so many possibilities to man the EDGE positions that there’s a logjam that will be really tough to break. Good luck to Justin Lawler as he tries to buck the odds in 2019.