The Los Angeles Rams are relying on several draftees this year to fill in position vacancies or backup roles. Second and third-year players will be given more opportunities too. Either way, the youth movement is alive and well, so expect to see some new names as starters too.
Below are five Rams players that I believe are flying under the radar. They are a mixed bag of rookies and veteran players that may not have the attention they deserve.
NT Greg Gaines, Washington (Rookie)
Greg Gaines comes into the Rams organization with a strong skillset at the nose tackle position. His strength on the defensive line would fill the void left by nine-year NFL veteran Ndamukong Suh. The former starting nose tackle is now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although the 6-foot-1, 312-pound Gaines has yet to take a snap in the NFL, his collegiate achievements speak for itself.
Gaines earned the 2018 Morris Trophy for top defensive lineman in the PAC-12. While at the University of Washington, he had 148 tackles (74 solo), 20.5 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, four deflected passes, one fumble recovery and one interception.
Gaines comes into training camp with nose tackle experience that the coaching staff can easily apply to the base of their defense. The 3-4 defensive scheme will be business as usual for Gaines. He is solid against the run and at pursuing the quarterback or ball carrier. Gaines’s speed makes him a strong replacement candidate for Suh, and could be a great addition alongside veteran defensive ends Michael Brockers and Aaron Donald.