A pair of rookies made a powerful impression on Dave McGinnis, St. Louis Rams assistant head coach and part of the team's troika of defensive coordinators. You can guess which two rookies.
McGinnis likes what he sees from Michael Brockers and Janoris Jenkins, the top two defensive players selected in the draft. Jenkins had the talent to be an early first-round pick. Brockers was.
Here's what McGinnis had to say about Brockers:
"We drafted him clearly where we did because of the type of player he is, and even more so of the type of player that he can become. And I do know this: he's got a wonderful coach in (defensive line coach) Mike Waufle. He has bought heart and soul into what ‘Wauf' is teaching him and what this defense provides him. I'm very excited to see him, to watch his development. I know (LB) James (Laurinaitis) is very excited to be playing behind him. This young man has got the right temperament, the right attitude, and he's got the right coach and the right system. This is going to be fun to watch his development."
Of course, Laurinaitis is happy to have Brockers in front of him; he gives the Rams a player capable of walling off runs in the middle, giving the linebacker more room to work with on the field. Watch how much more the Rams linebackers are working in coverage, in zone.
Media members traveling through St. Louis this month have all walked away impressed with Jenkins. McGinnis probably helped sell them on the first-year cornerback with talk like this:
"We've talked about Janoris since the OTAs and he's steadily progressed. What Janoris brings is the fact that he looks natural out there. There's nothing that awes him. He knows how and he wants to play corner. He's very coachable. The kid loves football. I love being in the meeting rooms with him and watching him interact with the other players and interact with (secondary) Coach (Chuck) Cecil and Coach Fisher. He's got a thirst for knowledge if he wants to get better at this game and he's got a chance to do that."
Note that McGinnis is not selling Jenkins as a pre-fab rookie-of-the-year winner. He's noting his young player's talent while publicly encouraging him to do keep pushing.
The combination of Jenkins and Brockers adds the Rams two plug-and-play players to the defense, players who will improve the unit almost immediately. Just how much they improve the defense depends on how they can they take it.