Sean McVay has been willing to play rookies who he thinks are ready to play
The Los Angeles Rams activated rookie linebacker Chris Garrett from the COVID-19 reserve list on Tuesday and while it isn’t evident that Sean McVay would feel that the seventh round pick out of Concordia is ready for action on defense quite yet, the team needs as many healthy players as possible for this weekend’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Garrett was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on September 2nd and has yet to be active for a game through the first two weeks. The 6’4, 230-lb linebacker set a Division II record with 15 career forced fumbles despite having his 2020 season cancelled, and he posted 36.5 sacks in 28 career games. Had Garrett been able to play out a senior season and in an exhibition showcase like the Senior Bowl or East-West Shrine Game (which he was invited to and it was cancelled), he may have been able to raise his draft stock well above the seventh round.
The Rams rank 10th in pressure rate through 10 games at 22.5%, with much of that having to do with Aaron Donald playing perhaps the best football of his life. And yes, Aaron Donald might be better right now that he’s ever been and I don’t care if he has one sack, the pressure on the offensive line is just insane play after play because of Donald and he could easily have five or six sacks right now.
So while Donald is playing like Donald, the Rams haven’t tested the pass rush with the linebackers outside of nine blitzes by Leonard Floyd and five by Justin Hollins. Terrell Lewis, LA’s third round pick in 2020, has played in 23-percent of the snaps and blitzed twice.
McVay has been hesitant to play rookies who he doesn’t feel are ready to play, but from Cooper Kupp to Jordan Fuller, he’s also shown a willingness to those who he feels can contribute immediately. Whether or not Chris Garrett falls into that category, we’ll soon find out.