The Los Angeles Rams are getting a winner with Micah Kiser, and it appears to be a perfect match for both team and player. The Rams run a 3-4 defense, which means there are two inside linebackers on the field, at least on first and second down. Last year, their ILB duo was Alec Ogletree and Mark Barron, who finished first and second on the team in tackles. However, the Rams traded Ogletree to the Giants for a couple of draft picks, leaving a gap in their defense.
The Rams needed a replacement for Ogletree’s production. Barron returns, and he’s a very good coverage linebacker, with eight career interceptions. He can cover the flat zones and even handle some running backs man-to-man. Kiser isn’t that player, but Barron is smaller and isn’t the best run-stopper. Kiser has that ability.
While Kiser isn’t Barron, he’s not the same player Ogletree was either. Ogletree was a first round pick five years ago for good reason. His speed and especially his acceleration are much better than Kiser’s. But, Ogletree had some trouble staying on the field whereas it was almost impossible to get Kiser off of it, even when nicked up. He’s not going to take games off and he’s not going to take plays off.
Kiser has a high motor and very good top-end speed. On top of that, he’s a run-stopping machine and a tackling machine who led the ACC in tackles for the last three years (he didn’t play much his freshman season).
Running inside against the Rams means double-teaming (or triple-teaming) DT Aaron Donald. That means the ILBs are running free more often than not. That’s when Kiser is at his best. He’s not the type of LB who’s going to bust through the line of scrimmage and make a bunch of tackles in the backfield. But, he’s the guy who’s going to fill the hole and make the tackle. Every time.
In passing situations, the Rams would bring in an extra DB and remove a LB anyway. So Kiser’s limitations in pass coverage aren’t as big of a deal. Even then, it’s not like Kiser can’t cover. He had 13 passes defended in the past three years, and he can also rush the passer, with 19 career sacks. The Rams could even use him as a pass-rushing OLB in certain situations.
Kiser will also be an asset on special teams from day one.
Long story short, this appears to be a great pick up by the Los Angeles Rams as Kiser is a hell of a player. He’s ready to get out to LA and start making moves.