Should Rams consider signing Xavien Howard or Emmanuel Ogbah?

When looking at the Los Angeles Rams’ roster right now, it’s clear that cornerback and edge rusher are two of their biggest needs. Ahkello Witherspoon is a pending free agent and the Rams desperately need a better pass rusher to go along with Byron Young at outside linebacker.

It just so happens that the Miami Dolphins are releasing two players who could fit perfectly with the Rams as free agents. Miami is parting ways with cornerback Xavien Howard and edge rusher Emmanuel Ogbah in what are strictly financial decisions in an attempt to clear cap space.

They’ll be available at the start of the new league year, giving the Rams an opportunity to fill two big holes before the draft. So should the Rams look into signing one (or both) of the Dolphins’ soon-to-be-released veterans? They’re both worth consideration.

Howard is the more intriguing player for Los Angeles. He’s a ball hawk in the secondary, recording a whopping 29 interceptions in eight NFL seasons. He only had one in each of the last two years, but he also had 12 passes defensed in each season, too.

There are some concerns about Howard’s play dropping off last season, missing four games in the process due to injury, but that shouldn’t be a huge worry for Los Angeles. After the news broke of Howard’s pending release, Jalen Ramsey cryptically tweeted about Vic Fangio not “utilizing our full skillset,” saying he “won’t ever forgive” him for it. That suggests he and Howard weren’t used properly in 2023.

The Rams play a ton of zone coverage, which fits Howard’s game well. He’s excellent at tracking the ball and keeping his eyes on the quarterback, allowing him to deflect passes or intercept them. In the Rams’ scheme, he’d be a natural fit.

As for Ogbah, he can still have an impact on defense. Though he only had 5.5 sacks in 15 games last season, he was used minimally by Miami. He played just 25% of the defensive snaps, which makes his 5.5 sacks much more impressive than they look on the surface. He has a respectable pass-rush grade of 63.6, recording 20 pressures in 172 pass-rush snaps.

He was excellent in his first two seasons with the Dolphins in 2020 and 2021, recording 127 total pressures and 18 sacks with 45 quarterback hits in those two years combined. At 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, Ogbah fits the mold of what the Rams have looked for in edge rushers, seeking bigger defenders with good length on the outside.

There wouldn’t be any real concerns about him playing outside linebacker in their scheme despite him primarily lining up as a defensive end in Miami’s system. He’s someone the Rams should absolutely consider signing once he’s officially released, given their need for pass-rush help.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire