Heading into training camp, it’s worth taking a look at a few IDP position battles that have yet to be resolved. There is potential production available on the waiver wire depending on who wins each role. And knowing who’s competing in each battle will give you a leg-up when injuries inevitably occur.
LA Rams ILB
Last season, Alec Ogletree and Mark Barron played basically every snap at ILB. Barron missed the last three games with an injury that wasn’t an injury because LA didn’t put him on the injury report. Ogletree sat out the final game of the season with most of the rest of the starters. Ogletree ended with 95 tackles and 2.0 sacks. Barron put together 86 tackles and 1.0 sack.
Ogletree was sent across the country to the Giants during the offseason leaving a hole at ILB. Two options to fill it that were on the roster last year are Corey Littleton and Bryce Hager. Hager is a 2015 7th Rounder while Littleton is a 2016 UDFA. When Barron missed most of three games last year, Littleton stepped in and started in his place. He ended with 20 tackles across the three games. When Ogletree sat out Week 17, Hager started in his place. Hager played every snap and ended with four tackles.
In the offseason, to shore up the position, the Rams added Ramik Wilson, Micah Kiser, and Tegray Scales. Wilson is a former 4th Round pick by the Chiefs. He’s shown to be a solid run-stopper and special teamer but hasn’t been good enough to get the ILB job in KC unless injuries cleared a path for him. His best season was 2016 when he played 523 snaps over 11 games and compiled 76 tackles. He started 2016 on the practice squad.
Based on rookie drafts, people think Kiser has a great chance to win the job. Kiser is getting drafted higher than Kenny Young who’s got more draft capital and a clearer path to snaps. The Rams drafted Kiser in the 5th Round. Normally, I would give you a list of the 5th Round LBs drafted over the last 2-3 years and ask you which ones you would want on your roster (it’s not many) because 5th Round LBs are highly overvalued by fantasy football, but Kiser may be a special scenario. Since the Rams didn’t have a 1st or 2nd Round pick, Kiser was technically their fourth player drafted, for what’s that’s worth. Kiser profiles as a run-stopper with limitations in coverage.
Scales is a UDFA out of Indiana. I’m just throwing him out there because an injury or two could allow him to see the field.
Last season, both ILBs played almost every snap. But in the past, DC Wade Phillips has used one ILB on the field for every snap with the 2nd ILB only playing in base packages. In Denver in 2016, Brandon Marshall was regularly on the field for 90%+ of the snaps each game. His wingman, Todd Davis, was on the field for anywhere from 40%-80% of snaps, depending on the game plan and opponent of a specific game. Davis made way for a third safety in sub-packages. The Rams don’t have a 3rd Safety to bring on the field though. The most likely options would be former 6th Round pick Blake Countess who played 163 defensive snaps last season or former 5th Round pick Marqui Christian who was on the field for 47 defensive snaps last season. Whoever wins the job next to Barron could be expected to be on the field for 90% of the snaps this season in what should be a very productive role, unless they split it into a committee with Kiser or Wilson playing running downs and Littleton playing passing downs.