Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Cameron DaSilva

After signing John Johnson III, Rams’ next move has to be at edge rusher

After years of offeason splashes, the Los Angeles Rams haven’t made a single one in 2023. They’ve helped other teams out by parting ways with players such as Jalen Ramsey, Bobby Wagner, Leonard Floyd and Allen Robinson, but they haven’t brought in a big name themselves.

That’s most likely not going to change, which is something fans simply have to accept.

Buy Rams Tickets

Despite their lack of marquee moves, the Rams have actually done a nice job filling out their roster this summer. Ahkello Witherspoon looks like a starter at cornerback, while Demarcus Robinson is pushing to be the No. 3 receiver thanks to a fantastic performance in training camp.

The Rams’ biggest move was signing John Johnson III on Monday, bringing in a proven safety to help the young players at that position.

The next item on their to-do list should be obvious: sign an edge rusher.

The roster is beginning to take shape as the season approaches and as bad as some people think the Rams will be, they have some formidable talent at every position … except edge rusher.

No disrespect to Michael Hoecht, Byron Young or the other outside linebackers on the roster, but it’s not exactly a great group – certainly nothing like the ones the Rams have had in the past with Leonard Floyd, Von Miller, Dante Fowler Jr. and Robert Quinn. They don’t have a single edge rusher who is a proven starter in the NFL, which is a problem.

There’s promise, sure. But it’s not as if coaches and players are singing the praises of the edge rushers in camp.

“Obviously he can do some good things and some things we need to work on,” Aaron Donald said of the rookie Young. “That’s with anybody out here, obviously they have those flashes, that’s what they’re here for. And at times you be like, he’s a rookie, you know? So it is a process. Still got some work to do, but again that’s what camp is for to continue to get better, to continue to push guys and got a lot of time before week one, but we just have to keep getting better.”

Sean McVay echoed a similar sentiment about Young and the edge rushers as a whole, pointing out how inexperienced and young the Rams’ outside linebackers are.

He knows they’ve got a long way to go as a team and it’s becoming evident that the edge rushers might be the weakest position group on the roster.

“I think he’s doing a good job. Those guys are really young on the edge. Like I’ve mentioned before, (OLBs coach) Joe Coniglio’s done a really good job with those guys. There’s a lot of stuff going on, there’s a lot of moving parts. You can see the physicality, the athleticism, the turn and run ability, but he’s got a long way to go. Just with this team, we’ve got a real long way to go.”

McVay said a few weeks ago that the Rams did consider bringing in a veteran edge rusher, but that was before they added three rookies in the draft: Young, Nick Hampton and Ochaun Mathis. With no one really jumping off the tape in camp at outside linebacker, the Rams shouldn’t necessarily feel great about their edge rushers.

After addressing wide receiver, cornerback and now safety in free agency, the Rams should be looking closely at the available edge defenders. The Panthers took Justin Houston off the market by giving him a one-year deal worth up to $7 million, but Melvin Ingram, Kyle Van Noy and Jadeveon Clowney are all still available. Any one of those three would help a Rams defense that’s lacking talent around Donald up front.

The additions of Witherspoon, Robinson and Johnson don’t give the Rams a top-tier roster, but they’re definitely going to help a young team. The biggest remaining hole is at edge rusher, which makes their reluctance to address the position puzzling.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.