At the NFL combine, Rams’ general manager Les Snead said new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley (pictured below) and new offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell (pictured above) could impact what kind of free agents and draft picks the team pursues based on their systems.
Snead: Draft + free agency prep for the Rams defense will be impacted most by new coordinator hires— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) March 4, 2020
That leads to this question: Will the Rams pursue players from Staley and O’Connell’s former teams? It only makes sense that they will, because those players are familiar with the coaches’ systems.
Let’s look at possible fits for the Rams on offense and defense based on Staley and O’Connell’s recent past coaching stops. Staley was in Denver last year and he was in Chicago in 2018, while O’Connell was with Washington in recent years.
Brandon Staley fits:
As an assistant coach for the Denver Broncos last season, Staley coached a number of linebackers who are now free agents, including outside linebackers Casey Kreiter, Jeremiah Attaochu and Dadi Nicolas and inside linebacker Corey Nelson. They’re role players, but I could see Staley looking to fill the roster with these types of backups.
Denver’s bigger named free agents are cornerback Chris Harris and defensive end Derek Wolfe. Both should get nice deals but as the Rams are only projected to have about $15-20 million in salary-cap room, they’d be hard sales. If acquired, Wolfe may be easier to fit than Harris.
Staley coached the outside linebackers in Chicago from 2017-2018, and the Bears also have some names to keep in mind. Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch is a decent backup who has some pass-rush burst, and has had 20 sacks in his six-year career. Lynch could also help pick up some of his reps if Dante Fowler leaves in free agency.
Bears’ inside linebackers Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkowski could be possibilities if Cory Littleton moves on. Littleton is getting a lot of interest so both could step in and help the Rams.
Kevin O’Connell fits:
Washington Redskins backup quarterbacks Case Keenum and Colt McCoy are free agents, so if O’Connell wants competition at backup, perhaps one of them can be brought in, especially if they don’t bring back Blake Bortles.
Running back Chris Thompson and receiver Paul Richardson are all players that could be reasonable financial fits if the Rams are looking to add at those position.
There aren’t many high-impact players from any of these connections, but I can see the Rams looking into several of former Staley and O’Connell players.
Who would you like to be signed from Staley and O’Connell’s former teams?