The Los Angeles Rams are trying a new recipe on defense, cutting edge rusher Zach VanValkenburg on Tuesday and replacing him with Keir Thomas, who was added from the practice squad. Could this change help the Rams do a better job of pressuring the quarterback?
VanValkenburg, an undrafted free agent out of Iowa, played in 97 snaps on defense, which amounts to 16% of the total number of snaps. He recorded nine tackles and one sack. The 25-year-old native of Michigan had 15 tackles for a loss at Iowa in 2021 but hasn’t made as much of an impact during his first go around with the Rams. He would likely revert to the practice squad if he clears waivers, which seems likely.
Keir Thomas, also a former UDFA, appeared in eight games with the Rams in 2022 but didn’t make the roster this time out. He played in 71 snaps last season after starring in L.A.’s preseason. He will likely get more work on special teams than defense, but could get opportunities given the Rams need for help on that side of the ball.