American Football

Snead’s Snacks: Will the Rams give Aaron Donald any help on the defensive line?


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Which defensive linemen in the NFL Draft fit with the Rams?

The Los Angeles Rams enter a crucial year when it comes to the NFL draft. With limited cap space (and limited draft capital for that matter), it’s going to be more important than ever to build depth through the draft and that means hitting on the majority of their picks.

Since the 2020 NFL Draft, I’ve done a series called Snead’s Snacks. In other words, we’re going to find and look at common themes and traits of previous Les Snead draft picks and see which players in the upcoming NFL Draft fit the mold for the Rams.

The focus for today’s edition of “Snead’s Snacks” will be on the defensive line. Over the last couple of years, the Rams have been set at the position. However, after losing Greg Gaines in free agency and A’Shawn Robinson also leaving, they need to give Aaron Donald some help.

This will be my first time doing a Snead’s Snacks on the defensive line. Let’s get started!

*Note: Numbers taken from RAS and Mockdraftable

2023 Snead’s Snacks:

Notable Past Rams Drafted Players

Bobby Brown, DL, Texas A&M – 4th Round


Height: 6’4 (72nd percentile)

Weight: 321-pounds (85th percentile)

Arm Length: 34.75 inches (92nd percentile)

Shuttle: 4.58 seconds (60th percentile)

3-cone: 7.62 seconds (56th percentile)

Broad Jump: 113 inches (90th percentile)

Vertical: 33 inches (88th percentile)

40-yard dash: 5.04 seconds (61st percentile)

Size Grade: Great

Speed Grade: Great

Agility Grade: Good

Explosion Grade: Elite

RAS: 9.82 – Great


  • Size and strength to play 1-tech or 3-tech
  • Good bend and solid tackler
  • Good run defender

Overview of Pick

Brown hasn’t seen a lot of playing time with the Rams, but will get his opportunity this season. He was an athletic and versatile defensive lineman coming out of Texas A&M and stout run defender.

Earnest Brown IV, DL, Northwestern – 5th Round


Height: 6’4 (76th percentile)

Weight: 270-pounds (32nd percentile)

Arm Length: 34.75 inches (85th percentile)

Shuttle: 4.5 seconds (52nd percentile)

3-cone: 7.19 seconds (76th percentile)

Broad Jump: 115 inches (70th percentile)

Vertical: 31 inches (47th percentile)

40-yard dash: 5.01 seconds (39th percentile)

Size Grade: Good

Speed Grade: Very Poor

Agility Grade: Good

Explosion Grade: Okay

RAS: 4.7 – Poor


  • Good size, powerful, athletic
  • Quick first step
  • Effective hands

Overview of Pick

Earnest Brown hasn’t made much of an impact in his two years with the Rams. In fact, he’s spent much of the last two years on the practice squad. Brown came out with good size, but hasn’t developed NFL strength.

Greg Gaines, DL, Washington – 4th Round


Height: 6’1

Weight: 308-pounds

Arm Length: 30.75 inches

Shuttle: 4.67 seconds

3-cone: 7.75 seconds

Broad Jump: 109 inches

Vertical: 31 inches

40-yard dash: 5.16 seconds

Size Grade: Okay

Speed Grade: Okay

Agility Grade: Okay

Explosion Grade: Good

RAS: 6.26 – Okay


  • Excellent power and awareness
  • Active tackler and finds ball
  • High motor

Overview of Pick

It took time for Gaines to finally make an impact, but once he did, he played a key role in the Rams’ Super Bowl run in 2021. Gaines developed into a cog in the middle of the Rams defensive line, working to have an impact both in the run game and as a pass rusher.

Sebastian Joseph-Day, DL, Rutgers – 6th Round


Height: 6’3

Weight: 299-pounds

Arm Length: 34.5 inches

Shuttle: 4.56 seconds

3-cone: 7.4 seconds

Broad Jump: 112 inches

Vertical: 31.5 inches

40-yard dash: 4.97 seconds

Size Grade: Okay

Speed Grade: Elite

Agility Grade: Great

Explosion Grade: Great

RAS: 9.44 – Great


  • Explosive lateral burst and make impact tackles
  • Good quickness off the snap
  • Excellent motor and run defender

Overview of Pick

Not very often does a sixth-round pick pan out in the way that Sebastian Joseph-Day did. Joseph-Day came into the NFL as a three-year starter out of Rutgers with an excellent motor. It was that work ethic that turned him into a successful player. Joseph-Day was a key starter and run defender on the Rams defensive line during the Super Bowl run.

Tanzel Smart, DL, Tulane – 6th Round


Height: 6’0 (9th percentile)

Weight: 296-pounds (26th percentile)

Arm Length: 32.375 inches (38th percentile)

Shuttle: 4.58 seconds (63rd percentile)

3-cone: 7.58 seconds (68th percentile)

Broad Jump: 105 inches (48th percentile)

Vertical: 27 inches (22nd percentile)

40-yard dash: 5.24 seconds (20th percentile)

Size Grade: Poor

Speed Grade: Very Poor

Agility Grade: Good

Explosion Grade: Poor

RAS: 2.13 – Very Poor


  • Lacks size and length
  • Good quickness in hands and feet.
  • Disruptive player with a good motor and instincts.

Overview of Pick

Smart didn’t come into the NFL as someone with good size or athleticism. However, he spent three years on the Rams as depth on the defensive line and still remains in the NFL. Smart was seen as someone with backup potential in the NFL and that’s exactly what he’s become.

Ejuan Price, DL, Pitt – 7th Round


Height: 5’11 (0th percentile)

Weight: 241-pounds (2nd percentile)

Arm Length: 32.75 inches (20th percentile)

Shuttle: 4.34 seconds (71st percentile)

3-cone: 6.98 seconds

Broad Jump: 117 inches (61st percentile)

Vertical: 31.5 inches (30th percentile)

40-yard dash: 4.84 seconds (47th percentile)

Size Grade: Very Poor

Speed Grade: Good

Agility Grade: Great

Explosion Grade: Good

RAS: 5.42 – Okay


  • Elite production
  • Stout and strong at the point of attack
  • Good burst and disruptive
  • Undersized but has a powerful frame

Overview of Pick

Many were excited when the Rams drafted Ejuan Price out of Pitt and saw him as an undersized player with a lot of upside. However, Price was cut during his rookie season and signed to the practice squad and then didn’t make the roster the next season.

Notable Past Rams Undrafted/Signed Players

Jonah Williams, DL, Weber State – 2020 UDFA


Height: 6’5

Weight: 269

Arm Length: N/A

Shuttle: 4.14 seconds

3-cone: N/A

Broad Jump: 115 inches

Vertical: 35 inches

40-yard dash: 4.67 seconds

Size Grade: N/A

Speed Grade: N/A

Agility Grade: N/A

Explosion Grade: N/A

RAS: 9.38u – Great


  • Versatility potential
  • Quick off snap

Michael Hoecht, DL, Brown – 2020 UDFA


Height: 6’4

Weight: 241-pounds

Arm Length: N/A

Shuttle: 4.21 seconds

3-cone: 7.05 seconds

Broad Jump: 110 inches

Vertical: 33.5 inches

40-yard dash: 4.65 seconds

Size Grade: N/A

Speed Grade: N/A

Agility Grade: N/A

Explosion Grade: N/A

RAS: 9.31u – Great

Marquise Copeland, DL, Cincinnati – 7th Round


Height: 6’2

Weight: 281-pounds

Arm Length: 32 inches

Shuttle: 4.84 seconds

3-cone: 7.5 seconds

Broad Jump: 110 inches

Vertical: 30.5 inches

40-yard dash: 5 seconds

Size Grade: Poor

Speed Grade: Good

Agility Grade: Great

Explosion Grade: Okay

RAS: 5.96 – Okay


  • Elite production
  • Good diagnostic and tackler
  • Active hands at the point of attack

Common Traits Rams Look For in Defensive Linemen

Here are the common traits that can help us build a rough mold of what Snead might look for in rookie defensive linemen. As a reminder, the Rams have drafted other defensive linemen such as Aaron Donald, however, we’re just looking at the defensive linemen drafted under McVay.

“Finding guys that have the versatility and athleticism in terms of that skillset…Because it provides a tremendous amount of depth for your team when you have guys that can play multiple positions, and especially up front.”

  • While the Rams have drafted players with good size, it’s not something that they focus on. The Rams have proven across multiple positions that they don’t care if you don’t have the ideal height, weight, or arm length.
  • A common trait among many players that the Rams have drafted is a good initial quickness. Earnest Brown, Jonah Williams, Sebastian Joseph-Day, and Tanzel Smart were all said to have good quickness off the snap or to have a quick first step.
  • The Rams do like players with a high motor. Greg Gaines, Sebastian Joseph-Day, and Tanzel Smart were all said to have high motors. `
  • From a testing standpoint, we’re going to be looking at players with good explosiveness. Only Tanzel Smart had poor explosiveness test scores. Most Rams defensive linemen have scored 110 inches or higher in the broad jump.
  • In the Sean McVay era, the Rams haven’t spent high draft capital on defensive linemen. The fourth-round is the highest a defensive lineman has been drafted. This is unlike the Jeff Fisher era where the Rams spent high picks on Michael Brockers and Aaron Donald. We’re likely looking at players on day three.

2023 Players Who Fit The Rams

1. Zacch Pickens – South Carolina

Pickens is slightly undersized at just 291-pounds, but checks a lot of the boxes for the Rams. He’s a smart player with good play recognition and a high motor, has good hands, and has a quick first step at the snap. Pickens is explosive as he had a 116 inch broad jump. He’s likely a 3-tech at the next level, but will have some positional versatility potential.

Grade: 3rd-4th Round

Courtesy Kent Lee Platte (@mathbomb) | RAS.Football

2. Moro Ojomo – Texas

If the Rams are looking for a defensive lineman to wrap up the second day of the draft, Ojomo from Texas would certainly be under consideration. He has a high football IQ and high motor, gets off the snap quickly, and shows versatility to play inside as the 1-tech if needed, but make a consistent impact as the 3-tech.

Grade: 3rd-4th Round

Courtesy Kent Lee Platte (@mathbomb) | RAS.Football

3. Colby Wooden – Auburn

Wooden from Auburn feels like a perfect fit. He has a great work ethic and motor and is a high character person. On the field, he has a great first step, has good hands, and has the versatility to play anywhere on the defensive line. He’s a bit of a tweener, but can line up anywhere from the 0-tech to 5-tech, but is probably more suited to succeed at the 3-tech in the NFL. Wooden is explosive, has good lateral quickness, and is good with play recognition. He’s a bit of a Swiss-army knife on the defensive line which is what the Rams need as they lack depth.

Grade: 5th-6th Round

Courtesy Kent Lee Platte (@mathbomb) | RAS.Football

4. Jalen Redmond – Oklahoma

Redmond might be one of my favorite defensive linemen for the Rams in the later portions of the draft. He’s a strong and physical player with a high motor who’s extremely quick off the ball. Redmond is also versatile as the Sooners lined him up as a nose tackle, but can also play as the 3-tech or 5-tech. He is a raw and explosive athlete, meaning he is going to need some coaching, but the potential is there.

Grade: 6th Round

Courtesy Kent Lee Platte (@mathbomb) | RAS.Football

5. Dante Stills – West Virginia

The Rams are going to have their options when it comes to defensive linemen in the later portions of the draft. Stills out of West Virginia is another name to watch. Stills has a hot motor which resulted in him becoming the career leader in tackles for loss at 52.5. The West Virginia product can play all over the defensive line, has an exceptional get off and good lateral quickness. Given his versatility, Stills could provide good depth immediately.

Courtesy Kent Lee Platte (@mathbomb) | RAS.Football

Honorable Mentions

Adetomiwa Adebawore – Northwestern

  • Would Rams take a defensive lineman at 36?
  • Compares favorably in RAS to Aaron Donald
  • Explosive player with high motor and quick get-off

Grade: 2nd Round

Keeanu Benton – Wisconisn

  • Would Rams take a defensive lineman on Day 2?
  • Versatility to line up across the defensive line
  • High motor with good first step

Grade: 3rd Round

Desjuan Johnson – Toledo

  • Has met with Rams
  • Extremely versatile player
  • Undersized, but plays with good explosiveness

Grade: 7th Round-UDFA

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