Obviously the St. Louis Rams entered this past April’s NFL Draft with a mission to get better at the weak side linebacker position. The team saw great performances from the likes of James Laurinaitis and new signee Jo-Lonn Dunbar in 2012, but something was still missing from the linebacking corps.
Even though St. Louis drafted Alec Ogletree in the first round, undrafted free agent Ray Ray Armstrong could have a strong case to make the final 53-man cut down when all is said and done this September. As a former standout at Miami, Armstrong was kicked off of the team last season for accepting gifts from a booster. He played safety while at the U, but Armstrong has taken the transition to linebacker seamlessly.
After seeing him in minicamp, general manager Les Snead commented on his undrafted find, telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“He has prototypical WIL (weakside) linebacker size and speed. With your backup linebackers, you’re trying to find people who can cover kicks. So we’ll kind of look at both combinations (linebacker and safety) and see, and make the fit.”
That will likely be the role that Armstrong is shooting for in his first campaign in St. Louis. Making plays on special teams is a great way to get your foot in the door, and his speed and athletic ability should lend itself well to doing just that. He has already bulked up from the 216lbs. he weighed in at during his pro day as he arrived at minicamp at 223. This additional bulk will help him in getting off of blocks and making an impact as a reserve linebacker and special teams gunner.
It’s a tall mountain to climb from an undrafted rookie to securing an NFL roster spot, but Ray Ray Armstrong is already well on his way with the Rams. If he can continue to show his value to the club on special teams during training camp and into the preseason, the odds favor him landing one of those 53 coveted spots this fall.