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Rams 2022 depth charts: How valuable is Leonard Floyd to LA’s defense?

The outside linebackers, past, present, and future

NFL: FEB 16 Rams Super Bowl LVI Championship Parade Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We continue our look at the LA Rams’ current depth charts by examining the latest news at outside linebacker. This could be an edge rusher, it could be a weakside off-ball position, but it won’t be the defensive ends quite yet. How do these outside linebackers fit together in 2022?

2022 LA Rams Outside Linebackers

Not here anymore: Von Miller, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

Leonard Floyd - 6’5, 240 lbs, born: 9/8/1992

During his two seasons with the LA Rams, Floyd has accumulated 20 sacks, 37 QB hits, and 18 tackles for a loss. He’s also had 17 tackles and four sacks in six playoff games over the last two seasons and he’s entering campaign two of a four-year, $64 million contract signed in 2021.

Floyd only has an $8 million cap hit in 2022, making him a bargain if he repeats the season he just had—but potentially an overpay at the $22 and $22.5 million cap hits he’s set to account for in 2023 and 2024.

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

So what kind of a 2022 season will Leonard Floyd need to have in order to stay off the chopping block in 2023? The Rams would only save $3 million with an outright release next year, but Les Snead has parted with better plays for less in the past and his $2 million roster bonus could be another deterrent.

Floyd was way more consistent in 2021 than he was in 2020, posting at least a share of a sack in nine regular season games last year, followed by sacks of Tom Brady and Joe Burrow in the playoffs. But again, how much of that had to do with the presence of Aaron Donald, followed by the temporary assignment of playing opposite of Von Miller?

This will be Floyd’s second campaign playing for Raheem Morris. Does the 29-year-old have even more in the tank that he hasn’t tapped into yet or is 2021 the best LA can get?

Let me know what you think in the comments: Will Leonard Floyd play out his entire four-year contract through 2024?

Terrell Lewis, 6’5, 262 lbs, born: 8/25/1998

Speaking of untapped potential, Lewis has carried most of the injury concerns he had coming out of Alabama with him into the NFL. Lewis has played in 19 of a possible 33 games and recorded five sacks with six tackles for a loss in those contests. He has made one postseason appearance out of a possible six and Lewis appeared in 367 snaps in 2021.

Los Angeles Rams v New York Giants Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Rams felt strongly enough about their needs at edge rusher to trade two day two picks for Miller last season. When Lewis missed the final six games and postseason, the defense was no worse for the wear and in fact much more dominant (coincidentally or not) after he made his absence felt.

Have you seen enough from Lewis during his healthy moments to feel confident that he will play out the final two years of his rookie deal? Should Lewis be worried about job security? Let me know in the comments.

Chris Garrett, 6’4, 245 lbs, born: 7/15/1998

Daniel Hardy, 6’3, 223 lbs, born: 12/15/1998

Two names that have fallen in relatively the same category are Snead’s seventh round draft picks from 2021 and 2022, respectively. Garrett, a dominant player at Concordia, made one game appearance as a rookie. Hardy has a similar resume coming out of Montana State this year and could be competing against Garrett for reps and a place on the depth chart.

Detroit Lions v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images
Chris Garrett

Do you think either of these two could have an impact on the defense this season?

Justin Hollins, 6’5, 248 lbs, born: 1/15/1996

Considered less of a pass rushing threat than the others, Hollins has five sacks in 24 games with the Rams since joining the defense in 2020. He blitzed 34 times in 16 games (349 snaps) in 2020, then 19 times in eight games (223 snaps) in 2021. So Hollins could potentially fit that void a little, but he’s not Von Miller—his former teammate in Denver.

Hollins could be the favorite to start opposite of Floyd, but the Rams are clearly looking for an edge rushing threat and hoping for one of their picks out of the rough to become a diamond.

Also here: UDFAs Andrzej Hughes-Murray, Benton Whitley, and Brayden Thomas

How big of a need is OLB going into training camp and the 2022 season?