Last week, I made a depth chart projection based on the simple idea: If younger players win most of the starting jobs, what could the LA Rams look like on offense?
The result was that the Rams still have a good offense probably and 71% of voters thought that LA could still be a playoff team without some of the veteran starters. I don’t disagree. Matthew Stafford should be a top-four quarterback in the NFC next season and I couldn’t see any reason why he, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Cam Akers wouldn’t be starting — and that’s not a bad supporting cast when you have Sean McVay as your play caller too.
Let’s now do the same exercise for the defense. Let me emphasize that: This is not a depth chart projection — it is an exercise.
What will it teach us? Hopefully something about LA’s depth and their future. I’ll be leaning towards younger players at every starting position but in some cases, contract and value would make it nonsensical to go in another direction. That’s why there’s no question that Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey will be starting, but what about the rest of the unit?
DL - Aaron Donald, 30
DL - Sebastian Joseph-Day, 26
DL - Bobby Brown III, 20
We don’t rock the boat here anymore than we have to, but I really hadn’t considered the fact yet that Brown is not old enough to drink yet. And he seems like he could have a nice future on LA’s defensive line already.
But really, other than Donald, this is going to be a “young” defensive line. Even A’Shawn Robinson is only 26.
ILB - Ernest Jones, 21
ILB - Travin Howard, 25
OLB - Leonard Floyd, 28
OLB - Terrell Lewis, 22
Actually this is kind of ... great? In theory. Lewis being healthy and Floyd repeating/building upon his 2020 season would be the two biggest questions, and that’s considerable given that Jones is a rookie and Howard missed all of last year. Questions but intriguing upside.
CB - Jalen Ramsey, 26
CB - Darious Williams, 28
CB - Robert Rochell, 23
As a matter of fact, David Long is the same age as Rochell, even if they were drafted two years apart. So you could go either way but I sensed that there’s urgency to see Rochell’s name on this list. You could get younger by removing Williams from the equation, but what he lacks in youth, he makes up for in inexperience. In any case, age is hardly a concern with LA’s cornerbacks.
FS - Jordan Fuller, 23
SS - Terrell Burgess, 22
For comparison’s sake: Taylor Rapp is 23, JuJu Hughes is 23, Nick Scott is 26. Snead’s ideal is that his two draftees from 2020 end up starting, but we still know quite little of Burgess. But this would seem to be the optimistic outlook and even after losing John Johnson, Troy Hill, LA’s secondary would seem almost “stacked” for the next three seasons.