After receiving veteran mentoring in 2018, Sebastian Joseph-Day embracing his opportunity

There’s an opportunity on the defense for second-year lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day.

Los Angeles selected him in the sixth round of last year’s NFL Draft, and while he was on the 53-man roster for the entire year, Joseph-Day was inactive for every game.

Check out photos of week two of the Los Angeles Rams during OTAs.

The young lineman understood why — as a nose tackle, he was behind five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro Ndamukong Suh, who played a whopping 88 percent of the Rams’ defensive snaps in 2018.

But there was a fire in Joseph-Day that didn’t go out. He wanted to be on that field.

“I don’t think you understand how much that hurt,” Joseph-Day told therams.com this week. “But honestly, though, everything happens for a reason. Obviously we had great players here — at the end of the day, it’s Suh, you know what I mean? So all I had to do was really just take that time, and study that film, and ask Suh questions.”

And according to Joseph-Day, Suh was more than receptive to helping out the young lineman.

“I was able to, after every series, come and watch the Surface with Suh, and really break down what he saw, go over the plays. Really just tap into his mind,” Joseph-Day said. “And shoutout to him for being such a good guy, and being that guy for me — taking me under his wing and teach me a lot of the stuff he saw through his eyes.”

Taking time to mentor the next generation isn’t necessarily something that necessarily meshes with Suh’s general reputation around the league — a fact that Joseph-Day recognizes.

“I mean, yeah, people would be surprised. But Suh’s a good guy. I mean, he’s a good guy to me at least. He was real cool with me, man,” Joseph-Day said. “And shoutout to him, and congratulations to him going to Tampa Bay — awesome, man. I’m happy for him, happy to see that.”

Throughout last year, Joseph-Day says, he’d take what he learned from Suh and apply it to what he saw during his own extensive film study.

“I’d watch AD, and I’d watch Suh, and I’d watch others and I’d write down moves,” Joseph-Day said. “Because even though everybody thinks it’s so physical, honestly playing D-line is a lot mental, too. Seeing the moves, seeing things that people do — that’s how you learn, that’s how you pick up things.”

Check out photos of week two of the Los Angeles Rams during OTAs.

And now, he has a chance to put it all together and perform on the field. Joseph-Day has been receiving some first-team reps at nose tackle in the Rams’ base 3-4 scheme throughout OTAs, calling it an “awesome” experience so far. He especially credits new defensive line coach Eric Henderson for taking significant steps in his development in just a short time.

“He’s really good at the details — small, minute things like footwork, hand placement, ways to break down an offensive lineman other than the stereotypical bull rush,” Joseph-Day said. “So it’s really cool getting to see that, getting to see someone so precise and particular with the footwork, the hand placement — just the detail of it.

“Because that’s honestly what you need in order to be a great defensive lineman, you know? You need that repetition, and someone just teaching you all that — especially physically, hand placement, footwork, all that stuff. So he does a great job with that.”

As the Rams continue through the offseason program, the 24-year-old Joseph-Day knows he still has plenty of work to do before officially earning a starting role. And he’s embracing every part of that, making a point to get on that 46-man gameday roster and contribute at a high level.

“There’s a ton of room for improvement for me. You can never be a finished product,” Joseph-Day said. “So I’m going to just really get to work every single day.”

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