The Los Angeles Rams lost Dante Fowler at the start of the offseason and he was replaced by Leonard Floyd. Shortly after, the Rams cut Clay Matthews. As of now, Floyd and Samson Ebukam are expected to be the starters at EDGE. But the Rams may have entered a third name to the competition, Alabama rookie Terrell Lewis.
But how likely will Lewis contest for a starting role? Here’s what Lewis brings to the Rams:
College Stats and Honors:
2019: In 10 games, Lewis earned 31 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks and two pass deflections.
Career: In 20 games, Lewis earned 58 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and three pass deflections.
Honors: Second-Team All-SEC (2019), National Champion (2017)
To begin with, Lewis has the ideal frame for an EDGE defender standing at 6’5″ and weighing about 260 pounds. For as tall and large as Lewis is, he has an amazing ability to play low. Pairing that with his long arms and Lewis will have an advantage over many offensive linemen. It will take some time to adjust to the NFL level, but Lewis did play against tough SEC offensive linemen.
One seriously underrated aspect of Lewis’s game is coverage. He doesn’t have mind blowing stats in this category, but there are plenty of things that help Lewis in this area. As an athlete, Lewis can do well in coverage against some of the TEs and RBs. His instincts are phenomenal considering his size and almost has the start and stopping ability of a safety. Receivers in the middle will likely try to avoid being covered by Lewis.
The immediate reason as to why Lewis fell to the third round is because of his injury history. He sustained a torn ACL that made him miss an entire year. On top of that, injuries just seemed to follow him throughout his collegiate career. In 2019, the injuries didn’t bother him as much, but he didn’t have a flawless season either. Started off as one of the better EDGE defenders in the nation and then disappeared in the latter half of the season.
As large of a specimen as Lewis is, he will need to get stronger. If he didn’t immediately beat linemen, he would get overpowered and taken out of the equation. His bull-rushes are non-existent, which is disappointing for defender his size.
Expectations in 2020:
It’s not necessary to push Lewis to be the immediate starter if he isn’t ready. With Floyd and Ebukam in place, it might be more beneficial to introduce him slowly into the fold. He can be used as a situational pass rusher until Brandon Staley is comfortable with him to go out there as a regular rotational player or potentially a starter.
The biggest factors is to make sure he is ready to compete on the NFL level, and to make sure he is fully healthy and ready to contribute. I think it would be tough for him to be named the starter Week 1, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Lewis could be a starter toward the end of 2020 season. There’s a lot to be excited about Lewis, if he can stay healthy and get stronger, the Rams could have a real gem in Lewis.