The Rams’ youth movement is coming faster than some realize. While the focus is centered around the offensive line, John Franklin Myers may make a huge impact on defense. The problem is what position does JFM play this season?
Ideally, JFM is the future starting defensive end. In a perfect world, Michael Brockers would slide over to nose tackle, freeing up Myers to the end. However, it may be a bit premature for JFM to make this move. He’s still developing but did show flashes of potential last year. He is the consensus top rookie last season. Although, that isn’t saying much considering not many actually played or started.
Myers did participate in all 16 games and earned 10 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble. He added three tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in the playoffs.
The stats don’t seem like much, but what’s apparent is JFM is a playmaker when on the field. Putting a reliable pass rusher opposite of Aaron Donald is a dangerous thought. Also, while Brockers did express a desire to play the end spot, he did play better at nose two years ago. His production just isn’t the same on the end.
Judging by the stats, Brockers did have similar production with tackles. That said, his 4.5 sacks instead of his one sack this past season makes a huge difference. It’s not just the statistics, but the little things too. Adding pressure and getting pass deflections is what made Brockers an unsung hero in the first place. Stat performance is a better measurable for a guy like JFM.
Realistically, there will probably be a lot of different packages and players switching off at each position. For example, if they keep Brockers at DE, JFM will likely come in situationally at DE and sometimes at LB. The danger of keeping Brockers at DE for most of the game is that it frees up a spot for the nose.
There are some guys that can fill the spot like Tanzel Smart, Sebastian Joseph-Day and rookie Greg Gaines. They are all unproven despite having plenty of potential. Training camp and the preseason should make the picture a little clearer, but don’t expect to see Brockers on the field.
This leads us back to JFM. With over a year of Wade Phillips’s coaching, we can expect to see improvement. Experience in the playoffs as a rookie is good to have too. In an interview with the Rams’ website, JFM explains, “After we made it to the Super Bowl, I became an adult.” That’s experience that can’t be bought.
If JFM continues to progress and keeps his focus, he could be an x-factor for the defense in 2019. The amount of potential the Rams youth have is intriguing for the future. Myers appears to have a bright future in the NFL.