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Where the Rams Stand at Linebacker Heading into the Draft

Posted Apr 12, 2018

A look at where Los Angeles stands at the linebacker position, as the club gears up for its offseason program.

The Rams made waves this offseason with the additions of cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, as well as defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. And while all three will undoubtedly help to boost the club’s defense in 2018, the moves didn’t come without a few losses to the unit.

Los Angeles will likely be without both of its starting edge defenders from 2017 — after trading outside linebacker Robert Quinn to the Dolphins and free agent Connor Barwin remaining on the market. The club also lost one of its key defensive leaders on the interior in middle linebacker Alec Ogletree, trading him to the Giants.

“We brought in three players that are really good players, and we think that’s the way to go, but we lost some pretty good players too,” defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said recently.

All three of those losses come from the Rams linebacking corps, a position group that will probably be a main focus throughout the remaining months of the offseason.

On the outside, L.A still has Samson Ebukam and Matt Longacre, while inside linebackers Mark Barron and Cory Littleton will also be returning next season. Additionally, the club recently signed former Chiefs inside linebacker Ramik Wilson. Phillips said that as the offseason program officially kicks off, the coaching staff will evaluate the team’s current depth, but will also look toward other avenues to replenish the unit.

“On a 90-man roster, we still need six or seven more linebackers just to fill out the roster,” he said. “[It’s] the same thing with most positions that you have, because you go down to 53 and now you have to get back to 90 somehow and you only get seven draft picks. So, free agency, getting some rookies and those things are going to fill in the roster.”

And although the club will need to add to the group before the 2018 season, Phillips remains confident in the talent already assembled in L.A. 

“Well, I mean, we feel like we have some answers for it,” he said. “We’re not where we need to be at, but we will be after the draft and after everything. When we get our 90-man roster, I think we’ll feel comfortable about where we’re at with those positions.”