Rams need young linebackers to step up this summer

The Los Angeles Rams loaded up on experience on the defensive line and in the secondary with a series of audacious offseason acquisitions through trades and free-agent signings.

Third-year linebacker Cory Littleton is calling plays for the first time after moving inside. Second-year outside linebacker Samson Ebukam was paired with rookie defensive end Justin Lawler to form the main pass rush tandem during a team period Tuesday, with rookies Trevon Young, John Franklin-Myers and Brian Womac seeing significant action behind them.

In the hopes of filling some of those gaps, the Rams used four of their 11 picks on linebackers to add depth inside and outside. Special teams contributors Littleton and Bryce Hager will take on larger roles in the middle, and players from McVay’s first draft class in 2017 such as Ebukam and Ejuan Price are being asked to further ramp up their development in pressuring opposing quarterbacks.

I think as a seventh-year player, now you have a little freedom to just be yourself and to not take a back seat and to just be vocal within reason, Cousins said.

Be a leader, step up, and let your voice be heard. To their credit, the guys have received it well, and it’s been fun to just assimilate myself into the offense and into the program.

As Cousins was finishing an interview session with the Minnesota media on Wednesday afternoon during a visit to a local middle school, his teammates called him over to complete their interaction with the kids and pose for one last photo.

He dutifully sprinted across the gym so as not to disappoint or, perhaps, take the razzing. He’s the face of this franchise, a responsibility he hasn’t shied from, but he’s also a carefully spoken and image-conscious player who can understand the importance of not overstepping his bounds.

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