The Los Angeles Rams have decided to try out 6-foot-2, 273-pound lineman Dominique Easley at linebacker now that he’s back from an ACL injury that forced him to begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list.
According to Myles Simmons of the team’s website, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said this week that they want to try Easley somewhere other than the defensive interior in hopes of keeping him healthier moving forward.
“Because of his history, I think it’s easier outside,” Phillips said. “You’re not pounding against a 300-and-some-pound guy, which he did normally. He played a lot of inside.”
That doesn’t mean you’re going to see Easley behind the line of scrimmage running sideline-to-sideline like a Luke Kuechly or Bobby Wagner. In Phillips 3-4 defense, outside linebackers are predominantly pass rushers. DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller, Mario Williams and Shaun Phillips are some of the players to play as an outside linebacker under Phillips while mostly serving as pass rushers.
Phillips even mentioned Williams, who at 6-foot-6, 300 pounds is rather large linebacker in his own right, when discussing Easley.
“I think this gives him a little more freedom to utilize his abilities. We even played Mario Williams at outside ‘backer,” Phillips said, “A real strong player can play that position and, again, not have as much wear and tear.”
Easley missed all of 2017 due to the injury sustained in training camp last year. He had 35 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles – all career-highs – in his first year with the Rams in 2016.