The Los Angeles Rams are committing to a youth movement on defense. The team traded away star cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a third round pick and tight end Hunter Long. The news came 24-hours before the onset of the NFL’s legal tampering period and just ahead of free agency.
LA’s defensive depth chart after the trade and reported releases of Leonard Floyd and Bobby Wagner seems pretty bleak, though additions are coming after the subtractions. The Rams would almost certainly add to the defense through the draft, and they will likely prioritize developmental traits over low-ceiling players who are ready to contribute right away.
Along the defensive line it’s fair to be optimistic about Bobby Brown and Larrell Murchison. Brown is capable of collapsing the opposing offensive line in flashes, but he needs to strive for more consistency. Murchison was a mid-season waiver claim a year ago, and he recorded two sacks in his debut with limited time to prepare.
Ernest Jones was considered an emerging player after his rookie season in 2021, which was capped off by an impressive fourth down stop in Super Bowl LVI against the Cincinnati Bengals. He spent the last year learning from one of the best to ever play the position in Wagner, so is he ready to take another step forward in 2023?
In the secondary Cobie Durant seems to be the brightest emerging star, though his smaller frame may limit his potential ceiling and force him inside for most of his career. Robert Rochell has all the talent in the world, but he was an afterthought last year and had a difficult time finding the field. Safety Quentin Lake was considered a strong coverage player coming out of the draft and he basically had a redshirt year in 2022 to learn Raheem Morris’ defense. Jordan Fuller is a former defensive captain, though he’s had a tough time staying healthy since getting injured just prior to the Rams’ historic playoff run.
After the Ramsey trade and releases of Floyd and Wagner, who is the best Rams defensive player not named Aaron Donald? Let us know your answer in the below poll, and then hash it out in the comments section.
Who is currently the Rams’ best defensive player other than Aaron Donald?
Michael Hoecht, OLB
Cobie Durant, CB
Jordan Fuller, DB
Ernest Jones, LB
Other - let us know in the comments