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Von Miller became an integral part of the Los Angeles Rams’ defense when he was acquired via trade last season. The All-Pro edge rusher would record four sacks in the postseason (two in the Super Bowl) en route to the Rams defeating the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl.
At the parade celebrating the Super Bowl win, Miller was among the players uttering the phrase ‘run it back’ to hint at his potential return in free agency. However, Miller did what he believes was best for himself, which was inking a deal with the Buffalo Bills.
With Miller now out of the picture, Los Angeles could very well add an edge rusher in the 2022 NFL draft and there are still veterans available in free agency. After completing profiles on Tyreke Smith and Amare Barno, here is a draft prospect profile on another edge rusher that the Rams could target in the draft in Jeffrey Gunter.
Gunter was a redshirt senior in 2021 after enrolling at Coastal Carolina in 2017. Throughout his collegiate career, Gunter would play in 47 games, logging 12 appearances as a freshman.
After spending two years at Coastal Carolina, Gunter elected to transfer to North Carolina State, but he was ineligible to play in 2019. He would then return to Coastal Carolina, where he combined for 12 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, and eight forced fumbles in his final two seasons.
Due to being a part of a Coastal Carolina team that overachieved in his final two years of eligibility, Gunter was invited to the NFL scouting combine. Gunter proceeded to run a 4.70 40-yard dash (10th among edge rushers), a 7.21 three-cone (5th among edge rushers), and a 4.35 20-yard shuttle (5th among edge rushers).
How he fits the Rams
The Rams already have a strong run-defending edge player in Leonard Floyd that has broadened his pass-rushing repertoire. During his time at Coastal Carolina, Gunter displayed his ability to set the edge in the run game, but he’ll need to expand his pass-rushing moves in the NFL.
That being said, Gunter showed plenty of promise in his final two seasons in college, forcing eight fumbles and recording 12 sacks off of the edge. Gunter is extremely strong at the point of attack, however, he showed a lack of an ability to bend when rushing the passer.
Entering the NFL, Gunter has the makeup to be a steal in the draft if a team can help him improve in a couple of areas. The Rams aren’t a team that cares what college a prospect attends and Gunter is someone that could evolve into a long-term fixture in Los Angeles’ defense with some time.
Mock drafts are pouring in at a rapid rate ahead of the 2022 NFL draft, so you get a sense of where certain guys are going. Gunter seems to be projected somewhere on Day 3, with most mock drafts having him penciled in the fifth round.
This year’s class of edge rushers appears to be a solid one, so it remains to be seen if there’s a run of edge rushers that forces Gunter to be picked ahead of his projections. Luckily for the Rams, they have eight total picks and seven of them are between the fourth and seventh round of the draft.
Once again, I firmly believe that Gunter could be one of the steals of the draft, depending on his landing spot. Joining the Rams would allow Gunter to learn from Floyd and he’d benefit from playing alongside Aaron Donald and Greg Gaines.