Early 2020 position outlook: Defensive line

After examining the Rams' offense, defense and special teams following the 2020 NFL Draft, theRams.com will take a deeper look at each position group as we get closer to the upcoming season. The defensive line is up next.

Who's back

Michael Brockers: Multiple reports said he initially agreed to terms with the Ravens on a 3-year deal, but it fell through after Baltimore received the results of an outsourced physical (he had injured his ankle in the 2019 regular season finale). That brought him back to Los Angeles by way of a 3-year deal. Last season, he set a career-high for total tackles in a single season with 63 and was a key part of the Rams' run defense.

Marquise Copeland: Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati last year, he spent the entire 2019 season on the practice squad.

Aaron Donald: Led the Rams with 20 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks in 2019, earning Pro Football Focus' Pass Rusher of the Year. He was also named to the NFL's All-Decade team of the 2010s.

Morgan Fox: Re-signed in May after originally entering the new league year as a restricted free agent. He posted 18 total tackles and two sacks while playing in all 16 games.

Greg Gaines: Last year's fourth-round pick out of the University of Washington amassed 13 total tackles while appearing in 10 games during his rookie season.

Sebastian Joseph-Day: Collected 37 total tackles, two sacks and one pass breakup in his first season as a full-time starter. He played in all 16 games, starting in 15.

Who's gone

Tanzel Smart: Released to make room for Fox, the 2017 sixth-round pick produced 20 total tackles and one pass breakup across 31 games in a Rams uniform.

Who's new

A'Shawn Robinson: The former Alabama standout played his first four NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions, amassing 172 combined tackles, five sacks, 16 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and one interception across 58 career games. He signed a two-year deal with the Rams in late April.

Eric Banks: Undrafted free agent signee who tallied 81 total tackles, including 20.5 for loss, plus three pass breakups, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in four seasons at Texas-San Antonio, earning honorable mention All-Conference USA recognition as a senior in 2019.

Michael Hoecht: In four seasons at Brown, the undrafted free agent signee accumulated 174 total tackles, including 29.5 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick.

Sam Renner: Undrafted free agent signee who produced 56 total tackles, including nine for loss, plus five sacks while playing in 37 games at Minnesota. A former walk-on, he also started all 13 games during his senior season.

Jonah Williams: Collected 15 sacks, which ranks ninth in school history, with 28 career tackles for loss across 54 career games, adding 194 total tackles, three fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and three career blocked kicks. The undrafted free agent signee earned All-America honors and was named the Big Sky Defensive MVP in his final season at Weber State.

Key question(s)

How will A'Shawn Robinson impact the defense? The most immediate answer is likely in the run game because of his 6-foot-4, 330-pound frame. Overall, though, it will be fascinating to see the difference he makes, and how the attention he draws opens things up for the rest of the Rams' defensive line.

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