clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Snead’s Snacks: Which edge rushers could Rams target in NFL Draft?

5 traits that Les Snead likes at edge rusher and 5 players who fit the mold perfectly

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 01 Georgia at Missouri

The Los Angeles Rams enter a crucial year when it comes to the NFL draft. With limited cap space (and limited draft capital for that matter), it’s going to be more important than ever to build depth through the draft and that means hitting on the majority of their picks.

Since the 2020 NFL Draft, I’ve done a series called Snead’s Snacks. In other words, we’re going to find and look at common themes and traits of previous Les Snead draft picks and see which players in the upcoming NFL Draft fit the mold for the Rams.

The focus for today’s edition of “Snead’s Snacks” will be on one of the Rams’ biggest positions of need, the edge rusher position.

After cutting Justin Hollins and Terrell Lewis in-season and then releasing Leonard Floyd prior to free agency, the Rams need a top edge rusher as well as some depth. Michael Hoecht stepped in nicely at the end of last year while Daniel Hardy and Keir Thomas provide depth, but they certainly need some more talent.

*Note: Numbers taken from RAS and Mockdraftable

2023 Snead’s Snacks:

Notable Past Rams Drafted Players

Daniel Hardy, LB, Montana State – 7th Round

Height: 6’1

Weight: 235-pounds

Arm Length: 33.5 inches

40-yard dash: 4.69 seconds

Bench Press: 20 reps

3-cone: 6.71 seconds

20-yard shuttle: 4.33 seconds

Vertical: 40 inches

Broad Jump: 127 inches

Size Grade: Good

Speed Grade: Great

Explosion Grade: Elite

Agility Grade: Great

RAS: 9.34 – Great


  • Good athletic traits
  • Quick first step/Good burst
  • Reliable tackler/Read and react skills in space

Overview of Pick

Daniel Hardy didn’t see a lot of traction as a rookie, but it was clear why the Rams selected him out of Montana State in the seventh-round. Hardy is an insane athlete with elite explosiveness and had a quick first step off of the line. He’ll be expected to take that next step in year two.

Chris Garrett, LB, Concordia St. Paul – 7th Round


Height: 6’3 (77th percentile)

Weight: 241-pounds (36th percentile)

Arm Length: 33.125 inches (41st percentile)

40-yard dash: 4.88 seconds (11th percentile)

Bench Press: 11 reps (5th percentile)

3-cone: 7.15 seconds (74th percentile)

20-yard shuttle: 4.31 seconds (74th percentile)

Vertical: 30-inches (17th percentile)

Broad Jump: 108 inches (6th percentile)

Size Grade: Great

Speed Grade: Good

Explosion Grade: Poor

Agility Grade: Good

RAS: 6.61 – Good


  • Good college production
  • Instinctual player
  • Explosive pass rusher

Overview of Pick

Garrett was taken out of DII Concordia. While he had good size and college production, that never translated to the NFL. He was cut prior to the season last year.

Terrell Lewis, LB, Alabma – 3rd Round


Height: 6’5 (97th percentile)

Weight: 262-pounds (97th percentile)

Arm Length: 33-3/4 inches (93rd percentile)

40-yard dash: NA

Bench Press: NA

3-cone: NA

20-yard shuttle: NA

Vertical: 37 inches (81st percentile)

Broad Jump: 124 inches (85th percentile)

Size Grade: Elite

Speed Grade: N/A

Explosion Grade: Elite

Agility Grade: N/A



  • Good awareness
  • Exciting physical traits
  • Strong potential

Overview of Pick

It’s hard to fault the Rams for taking Lewis. Had he been able to test before the draft, he likely goes in the first-round. Lewis was a great athlete and very explosive while having good college production. Injuries were a big reason Lewis never reached his full potential.

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, LB, Oklahoma – 4th Round


Height: 6’2 (3rd percentile)

Weight: 253-pounds (17th percentile)

Arm Length: 33.75 inches (56th percentile)

40-yard dash: 4.77 seconds (63rd percentile)

Bench Press: 27 reps (78th percentile)

3-cone: 7.09 seconds (71st percentile)

20-yard shuttle: 4.34 seconds (71st percentile)

Vertical: 38 inches (91st percentile)

Broad Jump: 121 inches (80th percentile)

Size Grade: Very Poor

Speed Grade: Good

Explosion Grade: Elite

Agility Grade: Great

RAS: 8.69 – Great


  • Good explosiveness and get-off
  • Excellent college production
  • Ideal athletic tools

Overview of Pick

Okoronkwo was seen as someone who lacked the physical traits but played with good aggression and a motor. Taken on day three, the hope was that the Rams could refine him and develop him into a productive edge rusher.

Trevon Young, DE, Louisville – 6th Round


Height: 6’4 (48th percentile)

Weight: 258-pounds (32nd percentile)

Arm Length: 33.75 inches (58th percentile)

40-yard dash: 4.78 seconds (60th percentile)

Bench Press: 25 reps (65th percentile)

3-cone: 6.99 seconds (85th percentile)

20-yard shuttle: 4.4 seconds (53rd percentile)

Vertical: 33 inches (49th percentile)

Broad Jump: 114 inches (43rd percentile)

Size Grade: Okay

Speed Grade: Great

Explosion Grade: Good

Agility Grade: Good

RAS: 8.75 – Great


  • Good length
  • Impressive college production
  • Raw athleticism ready to be molded

Overview of Pick

Young was the second edge rusher that the Rams drafted in 2018. He played in a 4-3, but it was thought that a move to a standup role could benefit him. A player sho struggled with injuries, when healthy, Young was a guy with good physical traits, specifically when it came to arm length.

Justin Lawler, DE, SMU – 7th Round

Height: 6’4

Weight: 262-pounds

Arm Length: 32.5 inches

40-yard dash: 5.03 seconds

Bench Press: 22 reps

3-cone: 7.44 seconds

20-yard shuttle: 4.46 seconds

Vertical: 30.5 inches

Broad Jump: 106 inches

Size Grade: Good

Speed Grade: Very Poor

Explosion Grade: Poor

Agility Grade: Okay

RAS: 2.43 – Poor


  • High-motor athlete
  • Good initial quickness
  • Impressive college production

Overview of Pick

Lawler was a gym rat at SMU and someone with a high-motor. However, he lacked the size and athletic ability that many teams look for at the position.

Samson Ebukam, LB, Eastern Washington – 4th Round


Height: 6’3 (43rd percentile)

Weight: 240-pounds (54th percentile)

Arm Length: 32.375

40-yard dash: 4.50 sec (93rd percentile)

Bench Press: 24 reps (65th percentile)

3-cone: 7.07 sec (64th percentile)

20-yard shuttle: 4.34 sec (38th percentile)

Vertical: 39 inches (88th percentile)

Broad Jump: 122 inches (95th percentile)

Size Grade: Good

Speed Grade: Elite

Explosion Grade: Elite

Agility Grade: Good

RAS: 9.8 – Elite


  • High-motor player
  • Elite athlete
  • Explosive pass rusher

Overview of Pick

Ebukam was an explosive athlete with significant physical traits. He was seen as a guy with speed, explosiveness, and a high motor. Had he gone to the combine, his 39-inch vertical would have ranked 10th overall – two inches shy of Myles Garrett – and his 4.50-40 yard dash would have been the best among any defensive end or linebacker.

Notable Past Rams Undrafted Players

Morgan Fox, DE, Colorado State-Pueblo – 2016 UDFA

Height: 6’3

Weight 263-pounds

Arm Length: N/A

40-yard dash: 4.89 seconds

Bench Press: 23 reps

3-cone: 7.44 seconds

20-yard shuttle: 4.36 seconds

Vertical: 35 inches

Broad Jump: 118 inches

Size Grade: Poor

Speed Grade: N/A

Explosion Grade: Good

Agility Grade: Okay

RAS: 6.11 – Good

Matt Longacre, DE, Northwest Missouri State – 2015 UDFA

Height: 6’3

Weight 260-pounds

Arm Length: N/A

40-yard dash: 4.75 seconds

Bench Press: 22 reps

3-cone: 7.07 seconds

20-yard shuttle: 4.26 seconds

Vertical: 33 inches

Broad Jump: 117 inches

Size Grade: Poor

Speed Grade: Great

Explosion Grade: Good

Agility Grade: Great

RAS: 8.44 – Great

Common Traits Rams Look For in Edge Rushers

Here are the common traits that can help us build a rough mold of what Snead might look for in rookie edge rushers:

  • Snead values a smart player with a high-motor. While that sounds like a cliché, because quite frankly it is, it simply means Snead looks for guys that play hard and have a high football IQ.
  • Snead loves elite athletic traits when it comes to the edge rusher position. Ebukam was an elite physical specimen when it came to testing and Trevon Young had elite arm length. Daniel Hardy was an elite athlete as a seventh-round pick. All of these players outside of Lawler had good to elite RAS scores. Five out of seven players had RAS scores higher than 8.0 and Lewis likely joins that group if he had been able to test.
  • The Rams seem to value explosiveness at the edge rusher position. Hardy, Lewis, Ebukam, and Okorokwo were all in the 80th percentile or higher in the broad jump and vertical jump and had elite explosive RAS grades. Explosiveness and a quick get-off were also common traits.
  • Developmental guys. Of the Rams draft selections on the edge, only Terrell Lewis was taken before day three. That’s two fourth-rounders, zero fifth-rounders, one sixth-rounder, and six seventh-round selections. Rams took one of these players last year in Daniel Hardy. While the Rams have a big need at edge rusher this year, we may be look at players in rounds 3-5.
  • Size doesn’t seem to matter for the Rams as much as explosiveness and overall athleticism. Outside of Lewis, every notable edge the Rams have drafted has had average size. The Rams look at production and how you get to the quarterback instead of size measurables like height, weight, and arm length.
  • It may also be fair to look at the college all-star games. Out of players that Snead has drafted, only Trevon Young didn’t participate in the Shrine Bowl, Senior Bowl or NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

2023 Players Who Fit The Rams

1. Nolan Smith - Georgia

It’s very fair to question whether or not Nolan Smith will be available with the 36th overall pick. However, there is a chance that does happen and if it does, the Rams would likely sprint to the podium to hand in their draft card.

Courtesy Kent Lee Platte (@mathbomb) | RAS Football

Smith was an extremely productive player at Georgia and ranked in the 90th+ percentile in both the broad and vertical jumps, displaying his explosiveness. He’s slightly undersized, but is an elite athlete, is good in space, and has a hot motor as a pass-rusher.

Draft Grade: 1st-2nd Round

2. Will McDonald IV - Iowa State

If the Rams like athletes at the edge rusher position, there may not be a better athlete than McDonald. Combine that will his production of 39.5 tackles for loss, 33 sacks, and nine forced fumbles in four seasons with the Cyclones and you have a very good player.

Courtesy Kent Lee Platte (@mathbomb) | RAS Football

McDonald’s arm length is a little longer than the Rams have typically drafted and he struggled in space in the run game. However, with his athleticism combined with his motor and good burst off the snap, he checks a lot of boxes.

Draft Grade: 2nd Round

3. Nick Hampton - Appalachian State

If there’s a mid-round edge rusher that the Rams take, it would not be surprising if that player is Nick Hampton. Hampton is explosive, has a high-motor, and very good in space. The Rams value production and Hampton certainly has that. At Appalachian State, Hampton finished with 40 tackles for loss, 26.5 sacks, and six forced fumbles.

Courtesy Kent Lee Platte (@mathbomb) | RAS Football

Hamton’s explosiveness off the snap and high-motor make him a great fit for the Rams. If they decide to cornerback early, Hampton should be available in the middle portion of the draft.

Draft Grade: 3rd-4th Round

4. Isaiah McGuire - Mizzou

McGuire was an extremely productive pass-rusher in the SEC and is a good fit for the Rams in the 2023 NFL Draft. He has the athleticism and explosiveness that the Rams covet and has very good quickness off the snap. He tested in the 80th percentile in both the broad and vertical jumps.

Courtesy Kent Lee Platte (@mathbomb) | RAS Football

The Rams value traits and McGuire certainly has those. He sometimes struggles in space which is a negative, but has a relentless motor. McGuire has a lot of potential as a mid-round edge rusher. If the Rams end up with an edge rusher in this class, McGuire makes a lot of sense.

Draft Grade: 3rd-4th Round

5. Yasir Abdullah - Louisville

Abdullah gets overshadowed by his teammate, YaYa Diaby. However, Abdullah would be a good late-round option for the Rams at the edge rusher position. He was highly productive in the ACC as he led the Cardinals with 9.5 sacks and tied for third nationally with four forced fumbles in 2022.

Courtesy Kent Lee Platte (@mathbomb) | RAS Football

This is a player that checks a lot of the Rams’ boxes. He scored in the 83rd percentile in the broad jump and 96th percentile in the broad jump. This is an extremely explosive player with a high-motor who has a quick get-off and is quick to read and react. He's a little undersized, but overall, the Rams don’t seem value that anyway.

Honorable Mentions

Byron Young - Tennessee

  • Explosive
  • Extremely high-motor athlete
  • Elite first-step

YaYa Diaby - Louisville

  • Good initial quickness
  • Explosive athlete
  • High-motor

Isaiah Land - Florida Southern

  • Instinctive player
  • Good production
  • Comfortable tackling in space