Tyreke Smith (Edge, Ohio State)
The Los Angeles Rams were able to put together a lethal passing rushing unit in 2021 when they acquired Von Miller from the Denver Broncos. Miller would help the Rams earn their first Super Bowl victory since 1999, recording four playoff sacks (two in the Super Bowl).
After the team’s Super Bowl victory, they turned their attention to keeping Miller. However, the point veteran would choose to sign with the Buffalo Bills instead of returning to the Rams in 2022, leaving Los Angeles out.
Outside of Leonard Floyd, Los Angeles lacks a consistent front-end presence on their defense. With a dire need for an edge rusher, I’ll take a look at a handful of edge rushers the Rams could target in the 2022 NFL Draft, starting with Ohio State‘s Tyreke Smith.
Smith spent four seasons at Ohio State, appearing in 30 games for the Buckeyes. For those looking at box scores or game logs, Smith doesn’t appear to have had a productive collegiate career at Ohio State, but his stats are a little misleading.
During his four years in college, Smith had just seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Although his sack numbers weren’t too impressive, he was able to create a lot of pressure on the rim.
At the NFL scouting combine, Smith would run a 4.86 (16th among edge rushers) and record a vertical leap of 34 inches (14th among edge rushers).
Smith is a versatile defender who could play in multiple places on defense. Again, despite his lack of college production in the sack department, Smith was still effective at getting after the quarterback and forcing the pressure.
It’s a cliche to say for edge defenders, but Smith has a high engine and his level of effort on every play is through the roof. Smith would benefit from being able to play alongside Floyd, Aaron Donald and Greg Gaines on the defensive line.
We’ve seen players who struggled to get sacks in college translate their game to the NFL and become gifted sack artists. I think Smith could be the next top defenseman who fits that mold, as the Rams should be on the list of teams expressing interest in him in the 2022 NFL Draft.
With fictional drafts flooding the internet right now, most of them have Smith in the third round. There probably aren’t many scenarios where Smith moves on in the second round, so the Rams should have the option of selecting the Ohio State product.
Los Angeles won’t make its first selection — at the earliest — until the 104th overall pick. And given Smith’s draft projection, the Rams will have to take him with their third-round pick if they want to add him to their roster.
The Rams’ second pick of the 2022 NFL Draft won’t come until pick No. 142, so unless they trade to get Smith, they’ll likely only have one chance to select him. If he somehow slips into the fourth round, Los Angeles should jump at the chance to add him to their pass-rushing unit.