We're just under a week from Los Angeles' rookies reporting to UC Irvine for 2018 training camp. And today, we're continuing our countdown to camp with a breakdown of the Rams' outside linebackers.
Newcomers: Obo Okoronkwo, Trevon Young, Justin Lawler
Outside linebacker is one of a couple defensive positions Los Angeles overhauled over the course of the offseason. Gone are both starters from 2017, Robert Quinn and Connor Barwin. The Rams traded Quinn to the Dolphins after seven seasons with the franchise. And Barwin remains an unrestricted free agent at this point.
And so the Rams will begin training camp with two new starters at OLB in 2018.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said during the offseason program that Samson Ebukam will "certainly" be one of them. Heading into his second season out of Eastern Washington, Ebukam played behind Barwin last year as the backup strongside linebacker. But now he's been slotted as the weakside linebacker, replacing Quinn. This means he'll get to rush the passer more, which has been his strength. Ebukam recorded 2.0 sacks, three quarterback hits, and 38 total tackles in 2017.
Matt Longacre did not fully participate in Los Angeles' offseason program, as he was still recovering from a back injury that prematurely ended his 2017. But he appears to be in line to start opposite Ebukam — especially after Morgan Fox went down with a season-ending knee injury during OTAs. Heading into his fourth year, Longacre finished third on the team last season with 5.5 sacks.
The Rams brought in three outside linebackers through the draft as well, selecting Obo Okoronkwo out of Oklahoma in the fifth round, Trevon Young out of Louisville in the sixth round, and Justin Lawler out of SMU in the seventh round. Okoronkwo suffered a foot injury requiring surgery during the offseason program, but is expected back for training camp. With Los Angeles' multiple injuries at the spot this spring, Lawler received some first-team snaps at OTAs and minicamp.
Rounding out the group are Ejuan Price and Garrett Sickles. Both spent time on Los Angeles' practice squad and active roster in 2017 and will compete for roles during training camp.
Previously on Countdown to Camp:
Check out exclusive photos of Brandin Cooks signing his 5-year extension with the Los Angeles Rams.