Don't look now, but the St. Louis Rams may have found a new third corner for the nickel package. Rookie Brandon McGee is pushing incumbent Trumaine Johnson for playing time. Jim Thomas from the Post-Dispatch noted Friday afternoon that McGee and Johnson rotated in and out of the starting nickel group this week.
Fisher praised the rookie, but spun it more as the chance to get more players into the mix, a learning opportunity. From the PD:
"We're just alternating, just moving him up a little bit on the depth chart. He's improving. He's making a move, and he's shown he can do some things on special teams. So we just want to make sure we've got enough people involved. He's a very smart young man and he's got a lot of football instincts for not playing a lot of football."
Recruited to Miami as one of the country's top defensive backs, McGee had a down year with the Hurricanes in his senior season. He took over as a starter in 2011, and struggled with consistency. He picked off two passes last year and notched 54 tackles.
He had a fine spring in the lead up to the draft. McGee ran a 4.37 second 40 at the Combine, and his other performance tests did not disappoint. Of course, leave it to the Rams coaches to iron out the inconsistencies in McGee's game.
Johnson played 22 snaps last week against the Browns. He was targeted twice, and allowed a nine-yard completion to Jordan Norwood. He and T.J. McDonald were also there for an 18-yard catch by Greg Little.
Fisher's been sharp about giving players plenty of reps. He's said more than once rotating players through the starting lineup gets the depth chart more snaps and more exposure should they be called upon in the regular season. Just how much of this is a competition between Johnson and McGee we won't know until we get a look at the final depth chart.