The Los Angeles Rams were looking for a replacement for the departed Alec Ogletree, and they may have found one in the 2018 NFL draft.
The Rams selected linebacker Micah Kiser in the fifth round (147th overall). The three-year starter at the University of Virginia is the type of player that will be more substance than flash.
Kiser is deceptively fast
Kiser is deceptively fast in the backfield. The young linebacker knows when and where to put his body when necessary. Kiser has developed a reputation of being a run-stopping LB with a ferocious ability to accelerate. Kiser will be at his best when opposing offensive lines are preoccupied with Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. His accelaration at the line of scrimmage will make it difficult for offenses to account for him against the run.
Kiser is reliable past the line of scrimmage
Speaking of defending the run, Kiser is an excellent tackler. In his last three years at Virginia, Kiser led the ACC in tackles. His ability is critical for a defense that gave up several big runs a year ago. Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is expected to play him against the run immediately.
Kiser works just as hard off the field as on
Kiser developed a reputation of being a workhorse between the lines at Virginia, but just as impressive is the work he puts in off the field. At Virginia, Kiser earned the Campbell Trophy (the academic equivalent of the Heisman) and is working on a masters degree. Micah Kiser has a very high football IQ and that intelligence will be critical to his success in the NFL.
Kiser is not a naturally fast linebacker. His 4.66 40 yard dash placed him at 15th among LB in the combine. The former Cavalier will definitely have to rely on his instincts on the field to make an impact.
Kiser also has some limitations in pass coverage. Even though he did have 13 successful passes defended at his time at Virginia, pass coverage is the one area of the field where he still needs to improve on. Fortunately, he’ll like have time to work on it with help available thanks to Mark Barron returning for the Rams in 2018.
Sources: NFL.com, rotoworld.com, Jamie Oakes, University of Virginia/247sports.com, Paul Guttman, streakingthelawn.com/University of Virginia