Los Angeles Rams fans have been somewhat spoiled by their talent at cornerback in recent years. They had the pleasure of watching a pair of elite cornerbacks develop from 2012 to 2015 and witnessed a sensational rookie year by E.J. Gaines in 2014 - when he outplayed now franchise player Trumaine Johnson for a starting spot opposite Janoris Jenkins. Add a talented LaMarcus Joyner to the mix and few will doubt that this group has potential.
13. Los Angeles Rams
Top CBs: Trumaine Johnson, E.J. Gaines, LaMarcus Joyner
Key stat: Gaines notched 10 pass defenses in 2014, more than any of his rookie peers.
The Rams balked at meeting Janoris Jenkins’ wage demands, and the confidence not to overpay may have been rooted in E.J. Gaines’ much overlooked rookie campaign of 2014. Gaines was the Rams’ highest-graded corner that season, surrendering only 1.03 yards per coverage snap (just outside the league’s top-20 corners that year). The one area the Rams’ corners must improve is their tackling, having missed a combined 78 tackles over the last two seasons (third-most in the NFL).
The missed tackles aren't the only thing holding this group back. Gaines and Johnson have both battled injury issues in the past and need to show that they're durable enough to play 16 games. While Joyner has flashed the ability to be a solid nickel corner, he needs to find consistency with his game in 2016.
Marcus Roberson provides some intriguing depth and Coty Sensabaugh fills Jeff Fisher's much coveted 'veteran presence' role, but if either sees extensive time this coming season, the Rams may struggle. The continued development of these youngsters is key if the Rams defense is going to reach it's potential in year 5 of the Fisher regime.