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What the Rams are getting in OLB Nick Hampton, a potential Day 3 steal

The Rams’ pass rush absolutely got better thanks to their concerted effort to add outside linebackers in the draft this weekend. After selecting Byron Young in the third round, the Rams circled back to the pass rush by taking Nick Hampton in the fifth round.

As promising as Young is, Hampton could end up being a Day 3 steal for the Rams. He was given a fourth-round grade by NFL.com, seeing a high ceiling for the Appalachian State product. What pushed Hampton down some draft boards was his size, coming in at just 6-foot-2 and 236 pounds, he’s not what most teams look for in an edge rusher, especially for those teams running a 4-3 defense.

The Rams have no problem betting on his athleticism and pass-rush ability despite being slightly undersized, hoping he’ll find ways to use his explosiveness and bend on the edge to generate consistent pressure on the quarterback.

You can see his burst and acceleration around the corner in the highlight package put together by the Rams below, beating tackles to the outside with his speed and agility.

Because he’s not very big like Leonard Floyd is, Hampton may have some trouble holding up as a run defender on early downs. But even so, he should be able to carve out a role as a rotational pass rusher as a rookie.

In the last two seasons, Hampton had 27 tackles for a loss and 18 sacks for Appalachian State, forcing three fumbles in 2022 alone. He often finds the ball and creates big plays, specifically as a pass rusher.

Dane Brugler of The Athletic gave him a third/fourth-round grade and sees him filling a role similar to Josh Uche, coming onto the field in sub-packages as an edge rusher. If he can improve his rush plan on a consistent basis and not just utilize his speed snap in and snap out, he’ll quickly carve out a role for the Rams and make a name for himself as a weakside pass rusher.

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Story originally appeared on Rams Wire