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Senior Bowl Preview: 12 defensive players Rams should watch

Will the Rams find an edge rusher at the Senior Bowl?

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

As they say, the NFL Draft starts in Mobile! Draft season kicks off next week with the Senior Bowl and once again Senior Bowl Director Jim Nagy has a very talented group of players that will be competing and showing off their skillset throughout the week.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rams show some interest here as most of their class in 2017 came from the Senior Bowl. I’ll be doing an offensive and defensive preview for the Rams and players to watch. On Thursday I took a look at 12 players on offense. Now let’s look at the defensive side of the ball.

S JL Skinner, Boise State

The Rams need to get Jalen Ramsey some help on the backend of the defense and that might mean spending a premier draft pick on a safety. JL Skinner is a special player in this draft class that can do it all. I fully expect him to have a good week in Mobile.

S Sydney Brown, Illinois

The Rams are likely going to lose Taylor Rapp in free agency. This leaves them needing to potentially draft another box safety that can play near the line of scrimmage. Illinois has some good defensive backs in this class and Sydney Brown is one of them.

S Jammie Robinson, Florida St.

Jammie Robinson is a fun player to watch and his draft stock could rise next week in Mobile. He can do a little bit of everything. Robinson is a versatile player who can line up on the box or in the slot. Adding another defensive back from Florida State wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

S Christopher Smith II, Georgia

My favorite safety in this class is by far Christopher Smith from Georgia. He has ball-hawking ability and speed on the backend. Smith also has extremely good ball skills. These are things that the Rams lacked on the backend of their secondary last season. I’m excited to see what he does at the Senior Bowl.

CB Jakorian Bennett, Maryland

Bennett is another one of my favorite defensive backs in this draft class. He’s not big physically, but he plays physical and has good ball skills. He’s likely a day three player, but could catch some eyes next week. He’s certainly a player that I’ll be closely watching.

CB Rejzohn Wright, Oregon State

The primary reason that I have Wright on this list is because I see him as great fit in the Rams’ scheme. The Rams run a lot of match zone which is something that Wright is comfortable with, especially in Cover 3 schemes. He needs to do better in run support, but overall he’ll be one of the top cornerbacks at the Senior Bowl.

CB Julius Brents, Kansas State

Brents is a lot bigger than what the Rams have typically drafted, standing at 6’4 as a cornerback. However, that size makes him someone that can matchup against bigger wide receivers and tight ends. The Rams need a cornerback that can hold their own opposite of Jalen Ramsey. While Cobie Durant played well at the end of the season, the Rams could still use a second cornerback.

CB Darrell Luter Jr, South Alabama

One thing that’s great about the Senior Bowl is that it allows players from smaller schools to show that they can compete with Power 5 and other Division I prospects. Luter Jr. is a fun player to watch from South Alabama and will be able to show that he can hang with the cool kids next week. The Rams have drafted from South Alabama in the past, taking Gerald Everett. I’ll be watching Luter Jr. closely.

EDGE Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame

It’s no secret that the Rams need an edge rusher in this draft class. While they won’t be able to get one of the top edge rushers as their first selection is at 36, they should still be able to get a solid player. He needs to develop more as a pass rusher, but the tools are there.

EDGE Nick Hampton, Appalachian State

Nick Hampton is an underrated edge rusher in this draft class. I’m excited to see how he plays against some of the better tackles that will also be at the Senior Bowl. He had good showings against UNC and Texas A&M, but next week will be big for him.

EDGE Isaiah Land, Florida A&M

Land is a fun prospect to watch. He’s someone that wins with his speed and absolutely jumps off tape. Coming from the FCS, the Senior Bowl will be important for him to show that he is the real deal. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Land catch some eyes in Mobile.

DL Zacch Pickens, South Carolina

An underrated need for the Rams is on the defensive line. There aren’t many pure nose tackles going to the Senior Bowl, however, there are a lot of hybrid players that can play in multiple spots. Pickens is one of those players and someone that the Rams could likely draft on Day 3.

Honorable Mentions

  • DL Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin
  • DL Cameron Young, Mississippi State
  • EDGE Andre Carter II, Army
  • CB Kyu Blue Kelly, Stanford
  • CB Tyrique Stevenson, Miami
  • S Daniel Scott, Cal
  • S Ronnie Hickman, Ohio State

A lot of these players here such as Ronnie Hickman and Keeanu Benton are players I’ll be watching, but maybe not players that I think that the Rams will draft. Tyrique Stevenson and Kyu Blue Kelly are two physical corners that could have a good week. All eyes will be on Andre Carter II as a revised bill allows him to be eligible to play next season.