In the 2021 NFL draft, the Rams decided they needed to address a need at linebacker by selecting Ernest Jones out of the University of South Carolina. Jones, who was a Butkus award semifinalist in his final season in college, was the captain of the Gamecock defense, as he led the team in tackles in both seasons he started at South Carolina.
Not many anticipate a 3rd round pick coming in and making noise early, however Jones did just that, as the Rams were so eager to get him on the field that they traded starting LB Kenny Young mid-season last year to allow Jones to become the new number 1 linebacker. Jones played very well, snagging an interception in his first game with extended action in Houston.
Jones would build on the momentum he built in Houston, posting a solid rookie campaign in which he tallied 61 tackles, 2 interceptions, with a sack and a tackle for loss. However, an injury in week 16 in Minnesota would cut his regular season short, sidelining Jones from week 17 all the way through the NFC Divisional round of the postseason. He would return for the NFC Championship, but only logged a little over 20 snaps in the game as he was still hindered a bit by the injury. Jones would start in the Super Bowl against Cincinnati and go on to play the best game of his young career, racking up 7 tackles to go along with 2 tackles for loss and 1 sack.
The fact that Ernest Jones seemed to get better as the year went on is extremely promising, especially because he played his best game on the grandest stage of them all. On top of all this promise and potential, the Rams brought in veteran, superstar linebacker Bobby Wagner, an 8-time all-pro and perennial hall-of-famer that will come in and only help in the growth of Ernest Jones. Ernest Jones will now have the chance to learn from one of the best to ever play the game, which I believe will lead to Jones becoming an all-pro linebacker in his own right.
Do you guys think Ernest Jones can become a top LB? Let me know below!
Now, today’s links:
LA Rams cut TE Kyle Markway, add WR Austin Trammel (RamblinFan)