The Los Angeles Rams used one of their eight draft picks this year on Greg Gaines to help fill the void left by Ndamukong Suh on the defensive line.
Leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams were hoping to add depth to the defensive line to help fill the void left by Ndamukong Suh, which they did in the fourth round by selecting Washington’s Greg Gaines.
From a realistic standpoint, the Rams realize that Gaines is nowhere close to being on the same level of Suh since the veteran has proven to be an absolute freakish athlete throughout his career, although it is surprising to still see him without a home for 2019.
Unfortunately, the main reason why Suh is still in search of his next team is most likely related to one of the main reasons why Los Angeles decided not to bring him back in his asking price being too high.
While the Rams were able to get away with paying Suh all of that money last season, the team knew they wouldn’t be able to pull that off for a second year in a row since the salary cap space is already a little too tight.
At least with Gaines, the potential is there for Los Angeles to see results right away during his rookie campaign to give them a better chance of competing again in the NFC with their eyes set on another Super Bowl appearance.
In fact, as tough as it may be to believe, Gaines seems like a much better option for the Rams over Suh on defense during the 2019 season, and here a few reasons to back the claim up.
3. Gaines comes at a much cheaper price
Without question, the one major advantage Gaines has over Suh for the 2019 season is the cheap price he will come at since his rookie contract is going to look like a complete steal after the rookie was selected in the fourth round.
As for Suh, as mentioned before, the Rams were willing to bring the former first-round pick on board last season with the intention that he would be one of the missing pieces to winning the Super Bowl, which actually almost happened for Los Angeles.
One can only imagine how tempting it was for the Rams to bring Suh back for another year to put the defense in better position to help make another run at the Super Bowl, but also deep down they knew the price would be absolutely ridiculous.
Now that Gaines is on board, Los Angeles hopes to end up in a position where his contract looks like a steal if he ends up being more productive than originally expected.
This may seem like a long shot at the moment after Gaines fell to the fourth round, but also keep in mind the Rams did their homework on the Washington product, and never would have taken him if they didn’t see some sort of potential.
2. Better option in long run is Gaines
Another year of Suh most likely would have resulted in limited action for Gaines as a rookie.
And if that were the case, Los Angeles would only be delaying the process for their rookie defender gaining the necessary experience to help get him on the necessary level to be a threat in the NFL.
Using players as rentals for the short-term certainly has its benefits in the NFL, but also it can take away from other players in need of the time on the football field.
Without question, the Rams know Gaines will need all of the experience possible since the transition from college to the pros isn’t always smooth sailing, although he seems ready for the challenge based off early impressions.
Suh would have been great to bring back for another year with his presence causing all sorts of problems for opponents, but at least more playing time for Gaines will benefit the rookie and the Rams in the long run.
Defense is going to be key once again for the Rams when it comes to their chances of representing the NFC in the Super Bowl for a second year in a row, and if Gaines can help them achieve this goal, it’s only going to make that fourth-round pick look even more like a steal.
1. Donald can be the perfect mentor
What Aaron Donald was able to accomplish last season for the Rams by recording 20.5 sacks was absolutely ridiculous to witness, and one can only imagine what the two-time Defensive Player of the Year is going to do for an encore.
In a way, it’s amazing to watch Donald still find ways to get to opposing quarterbacks despite all of the extra attention he receives from defenders, and to say Gaines has the perfect mentor to learn from moving forward would be a huge understatement.
Donald working his way into becoming one of the top defenders in the NFL didn’t happen on accident, and one of the best things about the Rams star defender is how he makes the players around him better.
Does this mean Gaines will have the benefit of his game getting better playing alongside Donald? Like Donald has shown throughout his career, success in the NFL doesn’t come without hard work, and if Gaines puts in the necessary work while learning from Donald, it’s only going to help the rookie live up to his true potential.
And who knows, maybe Donald can help Gaines develop into a Pro Bowler to give the Rams’ defense an extra weapon to work with, but let’s not jump that far ahead just yet since it’s still way too early.