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Rams training camp position battle preview: Who is Justin Hollins?

First up: linebackers

Wild Card Round - Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Justin Hollins was a three-star recruit out of Martin High School in Arlington, Texas in 2014, choosing to go to Oregon over schools like Baylor and Colorado. He was not nationally ranked by Rivals and didn’t get much attention as a future pro even though he did get a number of Division-I offers. This may have had something to do with his high school teammate drawing away most of the credit for his success: future number one overall pick Myles Garrett.

Hollins played as a true freshman, mostly on special teams, then redshirted the next year. Moving positions from outside linebacker to defensive line in 2016, Hollins led his position group with 51 tackles, including 9.5 for a loss. He improved in each successive season, totaling 59 tackles, 11 TFL, and 4.5 sacks as a junior, then 64 tackles, 14.5 TFL, and 6.5 sacks as a senior.

Justin Hollins’ college accolades were stellar.

Hollins also added an interception in each of his final two campaigns, plus five forced fumbles as a senior.

Though he had good measurables at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine — 6’5, 248 lbs, 4.5 40-yard dash, 36.5” vertical — Hollins fell to the fifth round and was selected by the Denver Broncos with a pick they acquired in exchange for quarterback Trevor Siemian. He made the team out of training camp but rarely played on defense in the first half of the season, mostly making it on the field for special teams duties.

Hollins saw more playing time in December and coincidentally or not, the Broncos actually won four of those five games after a wretched start to the season. And trust me, I am saying that it is a coincidence. Hollins played more in those games but he was still a part time player and he didn’t collect many statistics in those contests.

The Broncos could not really find a place for Hollins following 2020 training camp and they sent him to waivers. He was picked up by the LA Rams, where defensive coordinator Brandon Staley had familiarity with Hollins after coaching Denver’s linebackers the previous season.

Hollins appeared in all 16 games for the LA Rams in 2020, making no starts but seeing the field for 349 defensive snaps. He played in 189 special teams snaps as well. There seems to be disagreement on Hollins’ best position ever since he was recruited out of high school and it has not stopped yet. This could be for positive reasons but it may also be that you can’t find a good position for a player because there are critical errors being made no matter where you place him.

He may not be big enough to play on the edge full-time but he might also lack something when placed inside. The Rams are currently looking for players to step up and win starting jobs at both inside and outside linebacker though, so Hollins has nothing but opportunity when it comes to looking for a job in 2021.

Will he fit into Raheem Morris’s puzzle at linebacker or are there are other players in training camp competing against him who will be better suited for one of those three open jobs alongside Leonard Floyd?

Competition: Micah Kiser, Troy Reeder, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Kenny Young, Travin Howard, Ernest Jones, Christian Rozeboom, Terrell Lewis


Will Justin Hollins win a starting job for the LA Rams?

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  • 32%
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