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Rams should look to Day 3 to select a defensive lineman

Vanderbilt’s Dayo Odeyingbo could make sense

The Los Angeles Rams lost two productive players in the defensive line this offseason in Michael Brockers and Morgan Fox.

A defensive co-captain last season, Brockers finished with 49 combined tackles and five sacks in 15 games in 2020. He missed a game because he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list for the final game of the season against the Arizona Cardinals.

Brockers was traded to the Detroit Lions last month in a cost-cutting move.

Fox developed into a key rotational player, finishing with 29 combined tackles and six sacks last season. Fox was rewarded for his effort by signing a two-year, $8.1 million deal in free agency with the Carolina Panthers.

Both Brockers and Fox are long, angular athletes that provide versatility, traits that the Rams have with younger players on the roster like Eric Banks, Michael Hoecht, Marquise Copeland and Jonah Williams that have yet to earn meaningful roles on the defense but will get a chance to in the upcoming season.

“We have different type of guys that have special skill sets that are dying for the opportunity to prove themselves,” Rams defensive line coach and run game coordinator Eric Henderson said. “That type of hunger is going to allow for everyone to try and get better.”

While likely passing on the defensive line early, the Rams could look to Day 3 prospects that have those physical traits.

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Defensive linemen currently on the roster

DL (8): Starters -- Aaron Donald, Sebastian Joseph-Day, A’Shawn Robinson. Reserves --Marquise Copeland (DT), Michael Hoecht (DT), Greg Gaines (NT), Eric Banks (DT), Jonah Williams (DT).

Defensive linemen to consider for the Rams

Round 2 (57)
Milton Williams, 6-3, 284, Louisiana Tech

The skinny: Twitchy, disruptive force inside who finished with 10 sacks and 19 tackles for loss over the last two seasons.

Round 3 (88)
Levi Onwuzurike, 6-3, 290 Washington
The skinny: Earned first-team, All-Pac 12 honors in 2019 with 45 tackles and two sacks. Onwuzurke opted out of the 2020 season but played solid in the Senior Bowl.

Round 3 (103)
Cameron Sample, 6-3, 270, Tulane

The skinny: A tweener that could be a standup, outside linebacker in L.A.’s scheme. He finished with 52 tackles -- including 8.5 for a loss -- five sacks and three pass breakups last season.

Round 4 (141)
Jordan Smith, 6-6, 255, Alabama-Birmingham
The skinny: Smith’s a little light, but he does have that length that the Rams seem to like in their defensive linemen. Smith was productive at UAB, finishing with 89 combined tackles -- including 23.5 for a loss -- and 12.5 sacks in two seasons.

Round 6 (209)
Dayo Odeyingbo, 6-5, 285, Vanderbilt

The skinny: Odeyingbo has the strength and length NFL teams are looking for from an interior defensive lineman but suffered a torn left Achilles tendon injury in January during the pre-draft process, dropping his draft stock. He’ll likely need a year to fully recover from the injury.

Round 7 (252)
Quinton Bohanna, 6-4, 327, Kentucky
The skinny:
Massive, two-gapping nose tackle with length and power who could develop into a rotational player with time on the practice squad.