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LA Rams: Three former players that will be missed the most in 2018

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  • LA Rams: Three former players that will be missed the most in 2018

    LA Rams: Three former players that will be missed the most in 2018

    by Jason Reed 19 hours ago

    The LA Rams added several promising pieces to an already stellar roster this offseason. However, certain departed Rams will be missed next season.

    For the most part, the LA Rams‘ offseason was very promising. The team effectively added four Pro Bowl-caliber players — although one of which, Brandin Cooks, has not actually made the Pro Bowl. Los Angeles already had the Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year all under one system.

    That is a recipe for success. Add in Pro Bowl cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and the Rams are looking pretty intimidating heading into next season.

    Even Cooks, who may not have a Pro Bowl under his name yet, has had over 1000 receiving yards the last three seasons.

    However, there were plenty of players that left the team as well. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Trumaine Johnson highlighted those departed players. However, since the LA Rams replaced those talents, the team should be okay without them.

    But there are some departed players that the Rams may regret letting go once the 2018 season is in full swing. While the season will still be very promising, here are three former players the Rams will miss the most next season.

    1. Alec Ogletree

    Alec Ogletree is a very talented inside linebacker that has the potential to be one of the best in the league if he can piece it all together. The 2013 first-round pick has been one of the few promising beams of hope coming out of the Rams as they struggled to get back into contention up until last season.

    Despite all of that and despite the Rams being pretty thin in the linebacker core, the team decided to part ways with Ogletree and traded him to the New York Giants.

    It could have been an instance of a talented defensive player simply not fitting the system that defensive coordinator Wade Phillips put in place.

    Ogletree did tale a step back production-wise in 2017, which ultimately led to getting traded. However, he still was not bad by any stretch of the imagination and still logged 95 combined tackles in 15 games.

    Most importantly, this was a salary move for the Rams to pay their new players as well as open space for an impending Aaron Donald extension. Trading Ogletree freed up just over $5 million in cap space and recovered $10 million from his 2018 salary.

    But still, it does hurt to see Ogletree go and it will hurt more when the Rams’ one weak-spot, linebacker, is targeted next season.

    2. Connor Barwin

    Notice a trend here? As we previously mentioned, the LA Rams linebacker core looks pretty thin heading into next season. While the Rams may ultimately prove us wrong and excel by piggybacking off of the rest of the great defense, the linebacker core is really the one area for improvement for the Rams.

    And that is because the team is letting go so many pieces and giving way to a new, younger generation of players at linebacker. Going with youth has worked in the past, so we will try not to doubt the Rams. However, it is hard to ignore the talent that the team is foregoing and what that talent brought last season.

    Outside linebacker Connor Barwin is a perfect example of that. Last season, Barwin had the second-most sacks by a linebacker on the team, getting to the quarterback five times.

    Barwin did not put up staggering numbers in the overall aspect of the defense. He excelled mostly at getting to the quarterback and that was about it.

    However, in this newfound offensive line, Barwin would excel immensely and could post some of the best pass-rushing linebacker numbers in the entire league.

    The Rams could still re-sign Barwin as he is still available on the open market. However, with other financial priorities to take care of, the chances of Barwin returning to LA are slim. The chances of missing him are high.

    3. Tavon Austin

    Most fans probably disagree with this sentiment because Tavon Austin did not have a great season for the LA Rams last year. The transition from a slot receiver and kick return specialist to a running back hybrid, like the Packers’ Ty Montgomery, did not go over well with Austin production-wise.

    Last season, Austin had just 47 receiving yards and 270 rushing yards in 59 attempts, which actually is not too bad. The switch to running back was an odd one as Austin was coming off a career-high in reception yards (509) and had plenty of room to grow at just 27 years old.

    Something obviously did not gel with Austin in new head coach Sean McVay’s offensive game plan and it led to Austin being one of the most disappointing draft picks of this decade for the Rams. It made sense, logistically and financially, for the Rams to trade him to the Dallas Cowboys for a sixth-round pick during the 2018 NFL Draft.

    Missing Austin will not be the same situation as the linebackers before him on this list. The Rams are not really losing out on any production by trading him because he was not producing much, to begin with.

    However, in a new offense that desperately needs receiving help and has a great young quarterback and running back, Austin may thrive on the Cowboys. While he may not be a Pro Bowl receiver, the change of scenery may have been exactly what Austin needed.

    In fact, I think that Austin will have a great bounce-back year and have a huge impact in the offense and on special teams. When he does, every LA Rams fan is going to miss him and the failed experiment that was Tavon Austin and the Rams.

  • #2
    In fact, I think that Austin will have a great bounce-back year and have a huge impact in the offense and on special teams. When he does, every LA Rams fan is going to miss him and the failed experiment that was Tavon Austin and the Rams.
    Anything is possible I guess, but after watching Austin become embarrassingly inept at returning punts and completely unable to integrate into the offense, I'd be surprised to see him have any kind of "huge" impact in Dallas.


    • #3
      Austin may succeed in Dallas, but that's not really the point. McVay's offense works very well, and Austin did not fit.

      Ogletree and Barwin...we'll see. I think the guys we have may work out just fine.


      • #4
        They lost me at "miss Tavon Austin". For all his big-play ability, he was 9th on the team (not the league, not the conference, not the division.......the TEAM) in yards per touch. He found the end zone only once last year. Brown, Kupp, Woods, Watkins, Higbee, Everett, and Reynolds all matched that or more, while having fewer touches. I think we can replace Austin.
        The more things change, the more they stay the same.