Ex-Cats

Rams select UK linebacker Josh Forrest in 6th round of NFL Draft

Kentucky linebacker Josh Forrest (45) returned an interception for a touchdown against Louisville at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington on Nov. 28, 2015.
Kentucky linebacker Josh Forrest (45) returned an interception for a touchdown against Louisville at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington on Nov. 28, 2015. cbertram@herald-leader.com

The Los Angeles Rams chose Kentucky linebacker Josh Forrest in the sixth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday afternoon.

“Goosebumps,” Forrest said during a conference call with reporters, the Los Angeles Times reported. “Everybody in the house had goosebumps.”

The former Paducah Tilghman star was 10th in the Southeastern Conference and led UK with 93 tackles last season. That included six tackles for a loss, 3 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble.

Forrest, who is 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds, was the 190th overall pick. He took part in the Reese’s Senior Bowl and the NFL combine.

“Didn’t run as fast at the combine, but has this tenacity to him,” Rams General Manager Les Snead said in a report on the team’s website.

He finished his UK career with 232 tackles, 15 1/2 tackles for loss, 4 1/2 sacks, five interceptions, seven pass breakups, two forced fumbles and four QB hurries.

Forrest started his UK career as a wide receiver before moving to the defensive side of the ball in 2012.

“About halfway through my redshirt year was kind of when I switched over to a hybrid linebacker/safety position,” he told reporters Saturday. “Then we got a new coaching staff and I ended up moving from outside linebacker to the ‘Will’ position.” After that, “the Mike position was wide open. Coach asked me if I thought I could do it, and I told him, I can do whatever he needs me to do. And it just worked out that way.”

Forrest is the fourth player drafted in the Mark Stoops era. All of them have been on the defensive side of the ball, including defensive end Bud Dupree (Steelers, first round); defensive end Za’Darius Smith (Ravens, fourth round) and linebacker Avery Williamson (Titans, fifth round).

Free agents

▪  Defensive tackle Melvin Lewis reportedly agreed to a deal with the New York Giants. Lewis, who suffered a season-ending leg injury on Oct. 15 against Auburn, had 20 tackles, including a quarterback sack in six games. … Offensive tackle Jordan Swindle will sign with the Los Angeles Rams, defensive tackle Cory Johnson will join the Atlanta Falcons, and defensive end Farrington Huguenin will play for the Miami Dolphins.

▪  Longsnapper Kelly Mason will get a tryout with the Washington Redskins.

▪  Former UK running back Dy’Shawn Mobley, who transferred and finished up at Eastern Kentucky, agreed to a deal with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Dennis Varney: 859-231-3514, @ExCats

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