clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rams Roster Profile: Is LB Jake Hummel ready to contribute?

Can Jake Hummel win the competition as the LB2 in the Rams defense?

NFL: Los Angeles Rams Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the Los Angeles Rams defense, there will be a lot of opportunity for young players. That’s especially the case at the linebacker position where Ernest Jones is the most experienced player. After releasing Bobby Wagner in the offseason, Jones steps in with Jake Hummel and Christian Rozeboom behind him.

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, let’s look at Jake Hummel

2022 Season in Review

Hummel didn’t contribute a lot in 2022 outside of the preseason. The Rams linebacker suffered an injury in practice late in the season and was placed on injured reserve. Hummel was arguably a 4th-5th round talent in the 2022 NFL draft, but went undrafted. With the correct development, the Rams may have a player here.

The undrafted free agent out of Iowa State ranked fifth against the run in the preseason according to Pro Football Focus. With 15 tackles, he ranked fourth among linebackers with just a 4.5 percent missed tackle percentage. Hummel did play over 100 snaps on special teams last year in the regular season before going on IR.

The Good/Best Case Scenario

There’s not a lot of good to speak of when it comes to Hummel outside of him having a really good preseason. He was the most solid linebacker on the Rams defense during that time. Playing and contributing on special teams early once the regular season began is positive for his development.

In a best case scenario, Hummel starts to contribute more on defense in certain packages. He’s not someone that should be playing every down just yet, but has earned some looks on early, non-passing downs. In year two, he’ll still be more of a special teams contributor, but if he can make an impact there, he may see some time on defense.

The Bad/Worst Case Scenario

Unfortunately, Hummel’s rookie season was cut short because of an injury suffered in practice. In a down year, it would have been nice to see him continue to get some experience late in December.

The worst case scenario for Hummel is that he is surpassed on the depth chart by another undrafted free agent this year such as Kelechi Anyalebechi and gets cut.

Biggest Question: Is Jake Hummel ready to contribute?

This is a question that Hummel will need to answer in training camp and the preseason. While Ernest Jones will be the primary linebacker, there will be situations where the Rams need two linebackers on the field. Rozeboom may be the favorite, but he certainly doesn’t have that position locked up. There will be a competition for these snaps.

Rozeboom only played eight snaps on defense last year. Whoever can continue to make an impact on special teams, but also show that they are ready for a larger role on defense will likely win that battle. We saw some promise from Hummel in the preseason last year.

Roster Battle

As I just alluded to, Hummel’s camp battle and roster battle will be with Rozeboom. There will be available snaps at the linebacker position behind Jones. The Rams will likely keep three linebackers, but who plays next to Jones is completely up in the air.

While Hummel’s primary camp battle will be with Rozeboom, it wouldn’t be smart to discount some of the other undrafted free agents this year. Anyalebechi is a talented player and Ryan Smenda Jr. could make some noise as well. It’s very possible that one of those two players push Hummel off the roster if he doesn’t perform.

2023 Outlook and What to Expect

Hummel was my favorite undrafted free agent signing last offseason. As a player who could become a star on special teams early, it wasn’t a surprise when he made the final 53-man roster.

I would expect Hummel to make the roster again this season and continue to contribute on special teams. It would not be a shock if he pushed Rozeboom down the depth chart and earned snaps on defense as well. The expectations for Hummel should be to continue in his development. With his athleticism, he could make a very good pairing with Jones.

Chances of Making Final Roster

This all depends on how many linebackers that the Rams keep. If they decide to keep three, Jones, Hummel, and Rozeboom will be the favorite. However, it is possible that the Rams would only keep two and use a roster spot somewhere else. Still, I like Hummel’s chances to make the final roster.

Final Roster Confidence: 5.9/10