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2019 Los Angeles Rams roster preview: ILB Micah Kiser, back up

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The second-year inside linebacker is set for a much more notable role this year compared to last.

Divisional Round - Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams ILB Micah Kiser enters his second year in the NFL with a lot to prove. He was a 2018 NFL Draft 5th-round selection and was able to get a bit of playing time when former Ram and current Pittsburgh Steeler ILB Mark Barron was injured.

He played admirably enough to earn a shot to be a starter inside in 2019.

Roster Battle

Kiser will be competing with Clay Matthews for snaps at ILB, but it won’t be a traditional competition in the sense that I don’t think there will be a clear winner or loser. I know we all wince at timeshares, but I think that is what we will see between Matthews and Kiser.

Kiser could be used to keep Matthews fresh as well as fill in if/when Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips decides to move Matthews into a rushing role.

I’m not sure there’s a challenge to Kiser from the rest of the depth in Dakota Allen (roster preview), Natrez Patrick (roster preview), Troy Reeder (roster preview) or hybrid S/LB Travin Howard (roster preview). They’re probably battling to backup Kiser instead of competing with him outright.

Expectations

Be a presence in the run game and don’t be a liability in coverage. The Rams need Kiser to be that ‘thumper’ that keeps opposing offenses from attacking the defense right up the middle with Barron gone.

Chances of making the final roster (9.5/10)

There are very few scenarios I can envision where Kiser isn’t on the initial 53-man roster.

But this is the NFL, and stranger things have happened...