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2019 Los Angeles Rams roster preview: OLB Samson Ebukam eager to live on the edge

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Is Ebukam’s third year the charm?

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Rams Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams EDGE Samson Ebukam entered the 2018 season as a clear-cut starter with plenty of expectations after serving in a reserved role as a backup during his rookie year.

Flash forward to the end of the 2018 season with three sacks and three forced fumbles, and Ebukam did not perform up to expectations.

Will Samson’s development halt where it stands now, or will he continue to progress at terrorizing opposing quarterbacks?

Roster Battle

The Rams added veteran pass rusher Clay Matthews from the Green Bay Packers in free agency. While not the sack master he was once, Clay does provide more pass rush talent than Ebukam. The question will be if Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips prefers Matthews to play the weakside where he might take snaps away from EDGE Dante Fowler, Jr., or the strongside where he could cut into Ebukam’s playing time.

There’s also the potential battle of Ebukam fending off any rising depth from the edge. EGDE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (roster preview) missed all of his rookie season last year, but now he’s healthy heading into training camp. Trevon Young (roster preview) and Justin Lawler (roster preview) might surprise as well and get in the mix.

Expectations

Ebukam led the Rams’ pass rushers with three flimsy sacks. Three. TRES. TROIS.

No other outside linebacker had more for the team as midseason addition Fowler had four in the entire season, but only two in his eight regular season games with us. That is piss poor outputs from our edge rushers.

In a perfect scenario, Ebukam would have more nights like 2018’s Week 11 shootout against the Kansas City Chiefs more often. The matchup was considered Samson’s “coming out party” after posting three tackles, a sack, an interception, and a fumble recovered. Performances of this ilk should be the norm for Sammy — not be considered top-tier.

Simply put: the team needs more output out of its outside rusher.

Chances of making the final roster (7/10)

Samson has a spot on the roster as long as he can get to the quarterback. He will need to improve in this aspect.