Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 6/12/12
ST. LOUIS The old clich proves true for Rams defensive end Michael Brockers: What a difference a year makes. This time last year, Brockers was preparing for his first as a starter on the LSU defensive line. Now, the 6-5, 322-pound Brockers is a multi-millionaire experiencing his first taste of the NFL. The Rams selected the talented run-stopping Brockers with the No. 14 overall pick in Aprils NFL Draft. Hes had a lot thrown his way since, starting with the rookie minicamp just days after the draft and a full slate of OTAs (organized team activities) that finished up last week. He was running through drills last week with the starters, a sign that the Rams expect him to come in and contribute right away. Im feeling pretty good, Brockers said. Everything is coming pretty smooth now. At first I was hit with a lot different plays and techniques but as I go on, all these OTAs and minicamps and stuff, I feel like Im getting better and better every day. His crash-course summer will finish with the full-squad minicamp beginning Tuesday before the Rams break for the summer. Training Camp is scheduled to begin in late July. While many wanted the Rams to address their wide receiver needs with their top pick in the draft, the Rams couldnt pass on a chance to improve their interior by selecting Brockers to address a glaring need on the defensive line. And so far hes appeared ready to do just that. Hes been fine, said Rams coach Jeff Fisher. Hes getting stronger in the weight room. Hes doing much better with his hands. You cant get too much individual work down there with your position coach at this point. Brockers played just two seasons at LSU after redshirting in 2009. The defensive tackle had 49 tackles, 13 for a loss, and six sacks as a redshirt sophomore last season his only as a starter. He was named second-team All-SEC after starting all 14 games at left defensive tackle and helping LSU finish second in the nation in total defense (261.5 yards per game) and scoring defense (11.29 points per game). They were fifth nationally in rush defense (90.07 yards per game). In two seasons at LSU, Brockers appeared in 27 games and was credited with 79 tackles (34 solo), two sacks, 11 tackles for losses and five quarterback pressures. He caused two fumbles, blocked a kick, intercepted a pass and deflected three others. Brockers played mostly on running downs within the run-happy SEC, but hopes to prove he can become an every down player at the NFL level. Oh yea for sure, Brockers said. I want to be in there on third down roughing the passer and getting some sacks. (Defensive line coach Mike Waufle) is teaching me a lot of good techniques that I can use in my game and I can do some pretty good things off it. As long as I keep coming off the ball and being the very dominant player that I am, I think the pass game will come. Brockers officially became a Ram last week when he signed his four-year, 9.5 million deal that includes a team option for a fifth year. The deal came without the suspense of top picks in recent years but guarantees he will be on the field when training camp begins. With the NFLs new draft slotting system its become almost a formality for rookies to sign their deals shortly after the draft. And Brockers continued the recent trend, ensuring he wont miss any valuable time to start his rookie campaign. I was ready to get it done, Brockers said. Now that Ive got that out of the way, I can focus on football. That was the biggest part of it. The biggest thing is not letting it get to my head and staying humble and stay a good person. Those are the two big things. Asked about his first purchase, he said, Probably something for my mom. Ive been saying this whole draft process its time for her to live the good life and have good things and better things so I think that might be the first thing I do, get something for my mom. Whatever she wants. Brockers, who admitted hes gone from, nothing to multi-millionaire, since signing his deal, expects a lot out of himself this fall. The Rams do as well, or they wouldnt have used their top pick on him. With barely six weeks under his belt since joining the Rams, all parties involved are pleased with Brockers progress. But they know their still plenty of work to be done. Every day I come out here to get better, Brockers said. Little steps of improvement in my pass rush and things like that. I feel like by the time the season starts, Ill be an all-around player. I came into it just knowing I wanted to work. Every day is a work day for me, coming in here trying to get ready and learn. The Rams just hope the big man does plenty of work on opposing defenses this fall.
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