When the Rams drafted Terrell Lewis in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, everybody knew that there injury risks and concerns. In the year since he was drafted, sure enough those injuries have prevented Lewis from having the impact and presence of a player who has no knee issues.
Even 13 months later, Lewis is not an active participant in camp because of lingering problems that have followed him since his (rare) playing days at Alabama. Will he find sustained health going into the 2021 season or is this going to always be the way it is for Lewis?
The Rams obviously hope that Lewis can overcome those problems and become a regular contributor, not only because of his ceiling as an impact pass rusher, but also because they lack proven talent at the outside linebacker position. LA re-signed Leonard Floyd to a four-year, $64 million contract in March in part because what other options do they have?
It might be that the weakside linebacker position doesn’t see the field as much as the number three corner or number three safety does next season. That’s a reality of modern defenses. So we also shouldn’t over-hype the need to have a great player opposite of Floyd. That doesn’t mean that somebody won’t win that job.
Or that there won’t be snaps to go around.
In 2020, Floyd led all linebackers with 916 snaps, followed by 558 for Micah Kiser, 471 for Kenny Young, 423 for Troy Reeder, 363 for Samson Ebukam, and 349 for Justin Hollins. They were trailed by Ogbonnia Okoronkwo with 158 snaps, then 124 for Lewis.
Seven of those eight linebackers remain on LA’s roster, with the only exception being Ebukam.
New defensive coordinator Raheem Morris must have a plan that is somewhat different than that of Brandon Staley, and circumstances — like the status of Lewis’s knee — will also play a factor. But which linebacker is the most likely to emerge from this group and to provide a high level of play other than Floyd? We’ve talked about the inside linebacker position already, so what of the other outside linebacker job?
Who do you think will eventually get the second-most snaps at outside linebacker, after Floyd?
Who emerges as the next-man up at outside linebacker in 2021?
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