Early 2020 position outlook: Outside linebacker

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 outside linebackers are up next.

Who's back

Samson Ebukam: Played in all 16 games last season with five starts, posting career-highs in total tackles (45) and pass breakups (4). He also contributed one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

Justin Lawler: Similar to Micah Kiser, preseason foot surgery in early August eventually landed Lawler on injured reserve in early September, forcing him to miss his entire second NFL season.

Ogbo Okoronkwo: Tallied 7 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 10 games last season. It marked his first NFL action after spending the first nine games of his rookie season on the Physically Unable to Perform List and being inactive for the remaining seven regular season games and three playoff games due to May 2018 foot surgery.

Natrez Patrick: Saw action in 12 games, making two total tackles. He was inactive for the other four.

Jachai Polite: The No. 68 pick in last year's NFL Draft was signed to the Rams' practice squad in late September, then inked a reserve/future contract with the club in early January. Prior to joining the Rams, he spent the first three weeks of September on the Seahawks practice squad after being waved by the New York Jets – the team which originally drafted him – in late August.

Who's gone

Dante Fowler: After signing a one-year deal with the Rams last offseason, he parlayed a season of career highs in sacks (11.5), total tackles (54) and pass breakups (6) into a lucrative three-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons.

Clay Matthews: Released on March 18 after originally joined the club as an unrestricted free agent last year. The former USC standout made 37 combined tackles and eight sacks in 13 games, adding three pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

Who's new

Leonard Floyd: The former 2016 top-10 draft pick reunites with defensive coordinate Brandon Staley, who was his position coach with the Chicago Bears in 2017 and 2018. Floyd made 154 total tackles, 18.5 sacks, two safeties, nine pass breakups and one interception in four seasons with the Bears.

Terrell Lewis: The No. 84 overall pick in this year's draft, Lewis' 31 tackles, 11.5 for loss, six sacks and two pass breakups in 11 games earned him second team All-SEC honors in his final season at Alabama.

Greg Reaves: Undrafted free agent signee who tallied 212 tackles, including 30.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, six pass break-ups, three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and an interception in four seasons at South Florida.

Key question(s)

Who replaces Fowler and Matthews? As Staley embarks on his first season overseeing the Rams' defense, he and outside linebackers coach Chris Shula have the luxury of choosing from a deep, young and talented group.

What can Lewis provide as a rookie? Regardless of his role, it's not unreasonable to think he finds a way to crack the edge rusher rotation this season, given his talent and work ethic.

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