How does rookie Terrell Lewis fit in the Los Angeles Rams pass rush rotation?
The Los Angeles Rams expect to be a championship contender in 2020, not two years removed from being NFC Champions during the 2018 season.
Scanning over their roster, one of the areas that stands out as a huge question mark is the pass rush department, which wasn’t given a ton of attention in the 2020 offseason.
As the Rams transition from a legendary defensive coordinator in Wade Phillips to a first-year coordinator in Brandon Staley, a disciple of Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio.
As Staley brings his scheme to the Rams, he’s going to have an interesting cast of characters off the edge to work with. One of the most talented guys he will have in his group is former Alabama outside linebacker Terrell Lewis, a big-time talent who was limited to just 14 games in four years for the Crimson Tide.
The fact that Lewis was selected by the Rams 84th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft speaks volumes to his talent level and potential fit in their defense.
Where does he fit in with this current group of edge rushers?
Rams pass rush depth chart
Aaron Donald is obviously going to open a lot of things up for edge players on the outside if they know how to work off of his success defeating and taking on double or even triple teams.
Last season, Dante Fowler Jr. got things figured out and racked up 11.5 sacks.
Unfortunately, the Rams won’t have Fowler back for the 2020 season as he’s off to the Atlanta Falcons on a free agent contract.
Veteran Clay Matthews also notched eight sacks for the Rams last season, but he’s also not back with the team in 2020.
Samson Ebukam who had 10 QB hits and 4.5 sacks in 16 games last season is the leading pass rusher returning to this Rams roster. Everybody else is unknown or coming from a different team.
Leonard Floyd, a former first-round pick of the Chicago Bears who has experience working with Staley in Chicago, is coming to the Rams in 2020 with 18.5 career sacks to his name, certainly not what everyone had envisioned for him when he came into the league.
The other wild card off the edge for the Rams is Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, a former Oklahoma pass rusher who had big-time potential coming out of college and could still emerge for the Rams now entering his third NFL season.
All of this to say that Terrell Lewis, despite his injury history at Alabama, certainly has an opportunity to make an impact in his first year in Los Angeles.
The pass rush reps will be there and it’s hard to believe with a shortened offseason and a new defense being installed that Brandon Staley is going to see so much from either Samson Ebukam or Leonard Floyd that he will be able to basically redshirt Lewis.
Lewis, unlike anyone else in the Rams’ pass rush depth chart, has an ideal combination of size, length, quickness off the snap, and the ability to finish plays consistently.
There’s plenty of development to be done on Lewis’ end, but the lack of experience combined with the incredible raw talent is someone reminiscent of Robert Quinn coming out of North Carolina in 2011. Even Quinn had 25 games of college experience, but he also missed the entire 2010 season before he was picked in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft by, ironically, the St. Louis Rams.
Lewis could see a similar career trajectory as a player who showed first-round potential in college but had such a small sample size that he was really boom or bust in the draft.
If Lewis can stay healthy, there’s little doubt he will be more boom than bust.