The Los Angeles Rams will have a lot of new faces along the defensive line in 2023. After losing Greg Gaines and A’Shawn Robinson in free agency, it will be up to younger players who have provided depth in the past to fill those larger roles. One of those players is 2021 fourth-round selection, Bobby Brown.
Brown only played 29 snaps as a rookie on defense, but moved into a rotational role last season. With the loss of Gaines and Robinson, Brown will be expected to step up and show that he is ready for a larger role on defense.
Between now and the Rams’ first preseason game, I’m going to preview approximately 45 players on the roster. The goal here will be to highlight players looking to take that next step in 2023 as well as players who will serve as key depth on the roster. I may expand into the occasional star or roster-bubble player, but for the most part we’ll be looking at the players who will truly make or break the Rams season.
Today, we’re looking at Bobby Brown.
2022 Season in Review
After playing just 29 snaps as a rookie, Brown’s snap count jumped up to 164 last season. He finished with a run defense grade of 62.1 and pass rush grade of 58.1 according to Pro Football Focus. Brown also had five pressures on the quarterback.
Brown’s 2.2 stop percentage against the run was the second-worst mark in the NFL. However, his average depth of tackle ranked 23rd among defensive linemen. Brown finished the season with eight tackles, including one tackle for loss.
The Good/Best Case Scenario
It’s hard to have any expectations when it comes to Brown because he simply hasn’t played a lot since being drafted by the Rams. Despite playing 164 defensive snaps last season, that was still just the sixth-most among Rams defensive linemen. His 164 snaps were also half as many as the next closest player, Jonah Williams.
The lone bright spot is that Brown is following a similar developmental path as Greg Gaines. Gaines played 183 snaps as a rookie and then 237 in his second year. That jumped to 1000 in 2021. The best case scenario for Brown is that he has spent the last two years maturing as a player and is now ready to jump into a starting role. At 6’4, 325-lbs., the Rams will need Brown to be the center of their defensive line.
The Bad/Worst Case Scenario
The big thing with Brown is that he is simply a complete unknown along the defensive line. In two years, he hasn't contributed a lot. However, with a younger roster, especially on defense, now is his opportunity.
#Rams rookie DT Bobby Brown going to end up being a solid pro, IMO - tons of tools/ability and upside to his game... Nice rep here vs C— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) August 22, 2021
The midround DTs - Odighizuwa, Brown, Shelvin, TJ Slaton, Graham, etc - look out for this crew! pic.twitter.com/HO6taCChlc
Along the defensive line, the Rams do have some depth with Williams, Marquise Copeland, and even Larell Murchison. Still, it would be nice to see Brown be able to jump into a primary role. In a worst case scenario, Brown shows that he isn’t ready and doesn’t show growth as the year progresses.
Biggest Question: Is Bobby Brown ready for a larger role on the defensive line?
This is going to be a big year for Brown as he’ll need to show that he is ready for a larger role on the defensive line. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rams utilize a heavy rotation of players. Still, it would be nice if the 2021 fourth-round selection could be a primary contributor.
Brown played more than 30 snaps in just one game in 2022. His best game came against the Seattle Seahawks, a week in which he played just 17 snaps. Is he someone who can be a primary contributor or is he simply a role player? Brown is on a similar path as Gaines, but will he have the same success?
The Rams actually have some experienced depth along the defensive line. Copeland, Williams, and Murchison will all be players competing for playing time along the defensive line. Brown will need to show that he deserves playing time over those guys.
2023 Outlook and What to Expect
As mentioned, Brown needs to show that he’s ready for the next step in his development. That should be the expectation. The Rams will likely use a rotation of players on the defensive line, but it would be nice to see a heavy dose of Brown in that rotation.
This is going to be a big year for Brown. While he isn’t in a contract year, this is a moment that the Rams have been developing him for in his career. Brown will be an important piece along the defensive line in 2023.
Chances of Making Final Roster
While Brown may not be a guarantee to make the final roster, seeing him get cut would be a surprise. Someone like Copeland or Williams may surpass him on the depth chart and earn more playing time, but it would take Brown really falling down the depth chart for him to get cut. The Rams need depth along the defensive line and Brown is part of that.
Final Roster Confidence: 7/10