The Los Angeles Rams took a shot on linebacker Natrez Patrick, and he’s proving his worth as a versatile playmaker defensively.
You want to make a strong impression on a legendary defensive coordinator like the Los Angeles Rams’ Wade Phillips?
How about getting a sack on one of the league’s best young quarterbacks (Dak Prescott) in just your second preseason game?
That’s exactly what rookie Natrez Patrick did in the Rams’ most recent preseason contest against the Dallas Cowboys, a game played in the great state of Hawaii.
Patrick, an undrafted rookie out of Georgia, was nearly kicked out of the Bulldogs’ program after being arrested three times for marijuana possession/usage, twice in one year.
Patrick’s story at Georgia is even more amazing when you consider the fact that they went from the March Richt regime to the Kirby Smart regime, and Smart’s staff was under no real obligation to keep him there.
Four- and five-star prospects pretty much grow on trees in Athens, GA these days.
But Smart’s staff stuck with Patrick, and they were rewarded with a breakthrough. Not just on the field. More importantly, Patrick grew as a person and really found his way.
We got a chance to chat with Patrick prior to the 2019 NFL Draft, and I would highly encourage you to go back and visit that interview.
So far in two preseason games with the Los Angeles Rams, Patrick has six tackles, six pressures on the quarterback, a hit, and a sack. He’s made some really nice plays against the run and obviously got some run with a version of the Rams’ top defense against the Cowboys in preseason action.
In other words, Patrick is going to mess around and make this Rams roster.
As good as the Rams are, they don’t have a ton of home-grown depth defensively, at least of the proven variety.
Patrick would be a welcomed home-grown talent on the defensive front and he seems like the ideal type of outside linebacker to come off the sideline for Wade Phillips’ defense and spell whoever the starter is. He’s somewhat in the same mold as Shaquil Barrett, who thrived in Phillips’ defense for a few years in Denver with the Broncos.
We’ll see how Patrick finishes out preseason play but if he’s getting shoved into bigger roles — regardless of whether or not it’s due to injuries ahead of him — he’s making the most of his opportunities and impressing the Rams’ coaching staff.