It goes without saying that the Los Angeles Rams have a major void to fill at linebacker this offseason. Fortunately, there is plenty of optimism from the coaching staff that linebackers Samson Ebukam and Cory Littleton are up to the task.
Head coach Sean McVay made it clear he likes what he sees from both players. The same can be said for linebackers coach Joe Barry, via Rams Radio:
“I know technically they weren’t starters, but whenever they had to go in? They played like starters. I feel really good and very excited about those two guys.”
It is encouraging to see that Barry excited at the prospect of Ebukam and Littleton becoming starters. Especially after all the hits his group took this offseason with the departure of linebackers Alec Ogletree and Robert Quinn. Needless to say, the defense lost plenty of experience. However, it appears they are in a good position to avoid any obvious drop-off in production.
Both players made their bones on special teams and as backups during the 2017 NFL season. They managed to make the most of their opportunities despite the limited snaps and it appears their coaches have not forgotten.
Los Angeles selected Ebukam in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, He registered 31 tackles, 2.0 sacks, and a forced fumble in his rookie campaign. Meanwhile, Littleton was able to rack up 36 tackles, a sack, and four pass deflections in his third season. That said, Littleton has come a long way since signing with the Rams as an undrafted free agent out of Washington.
Although they may be pegged as the early favorites to claim a starting job, they will face plenty of competition from young players also looking to make a name for themselves.It will be on them to not only claim the starting job but maintain it throughout the course of the 2018 NFL season as well.