Now that I’ve officially ran through all day one and day two draft selections in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, it’s time to dive into day three. The first on the list is Washington Huskies DT Greg Gaines.
Gaines was a four-year contributor with the Huskies totaling 149 tackles, 21.5 tackles-for-loss, 9.5 sacks, and even one interception in his college career. He was a Senior who also participated in the Reese’s Senior Bowl.The Rams waited until the fourth round to add a run stuffer for the middle of their line in defensive tackle Greg Gaines out of the University of Washington.
General manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay specifically mentioned using Gaines at the nose tackle spot in base packages, putting emphasis on the former Huskie’s ability to stay disciplined and stop the run.
Since switching to a 3-4 defense in 2017 with the arrival of Wade Phillips, the Los Angeles Rams have been searching for a long-term answer at center. Michael Brockers played there initially, but he was switched to defensive end mid-season in 2017.
Ndamukong Suh was signed as a free agent last year, inking a $14 million deal for one season in L.A. He remains on the market, but he’s not in the Rams’ plans anymore. They entered the draft still in need of a replacement for Suh, and on Saturday afternoon, they may have found the perfect guy to fill his big shoes.The Rams traded up into the fourth round to select Washington nose tackle Greg Gaines, someone they scouted at the Senior Bowl. The 6-foot-1, 312-pounder may not be as tall or versatile as Suh, but he’s stout and excels at taking on blocks, anchoring down in the middle of the defense.
General manager Les Snead is a huge fan of the Washington product and it’s clear the Rams had their eye on him for a while. Their top goal on Day 3 was to select Gaines at some point.
“The first priority was to try to figure out how we could get to a spot in the draft and draft Gaines to fill the nose tackle type spot in our base defense,” Snead said.
The Rams didn’t waste any time, moving up 28 spots to go get their guy on Saturday. Wade Phillips already views him as a potential replacement for Suh, saying the Rams have a spot for him now that Ndamukong left.
The Los Angeles Rams landed their second Washington product of the draft on Saturday, trading up to select defensive tackle Greg Gaines 134th overall. With Ndamukong Suh on his way out, the Rams didn’t want to sit back and wait for a nose tackle to fall to them, so they moved up and got their guy in Gaines.
He’s a far different player than Suh, but he should be able to contribute fairly early in his career. He’s 6-foot-1, 312 pounds with slightly shorter arms, but despite being “squatty” for a defensive tackle, he’s a powerful player.Gaines isn’t nearly as versatile as Suh and he won’t be able to line up at defensive end for the Rams, but Los Angeles won’t ask him to. His primary role will be to eat up blocks, be an anchor on the interior and open things up for his fellow defensive linemen, Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers.
One thing there won’t be any question about is Gaines’ effort. He has as high of a motor as any player in the draft, always working to get off blocks and rally to the football. That wasn’t exactly the case with Suh, who had questions about his effort brought up during his time in Miami and even in Los Angeles.
His durability is not a concern at all, either. He played every single game for the Huskies the last four years, making 149 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss and even recording 9.5 career sacks – 4.5 coming in 2018 alone.
His run-stop percentage of 9.8 percent ranked 10th of any player at his position in the draft class, according to Pro Football Focus, while also earning a pass-rush productivity mark of 6.5 – good for 12th.