If someone were to poll the Los Angeles Rams fanbase and ask, “what is the team’s biggest need for the 2023 offseason,” ten out of ten would likely say the offensive line. That should come as no surprise as the Rams offensive line ranked among the worst last season.
However, with the recent developments surrounding Jalen Ramsey and a potential trade as well as Troy Hill, Nick Scott, and Taylor Rapp all set to hit free agency, one could certainly make the argument that the secondary should be the top priority for the front office.
That’s exactly what Football Outsiders did in an article breaking down the offseason for each team in the NFC West. Football Outsiders writer Vincent Verhei listed the secondary as the Rams’ biggest need this offseason. Here’s what he had to say,
“Jalen Ramsey will probably be traded. Troy Hill and David Long will be unrestricted free agents; Grant Haley, an RFA. Those departures would leave a pair of 2022 rookies as the top corners left standing in L.A. Derion Kendrick, a sixth-round draftee who won national titles at Clemson and Georgia in college, started six games early in the year when Hill and Long were injured but was banished to special teams duties by the end of the season. Cobie Durant, a fourth-rounder out of South Carolina State, went the other direction: nearly all of his playing time came after Thanksgiving, but he still led the NFL with 151 yards on interception returns, most of which came on an 85-yard pick-six in the Christmas Day massacre against Denver. Not bad, as Day 3 rookies go, but not the experience or pedigree you’re looking for over a full season...Oh, and starting safeties Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott? Yeah, they’re free agents too. Should they leave, Jordan Fuller would presumably replace one of them; he started 28 games for L.A. in 2020 and 2021, but missed most of last year with a hamstring injury. Two other 2022 rookies—sixth-rounder Quentin Lake and seventh-rounder Russ Yeast—would probably battle for the other spot.”
This is likely a case where multiple things are true at the same time. The offensive line and secondary are needs 1a and 1b when it comes to the Rams offseason. However, a case could certainly be made that the secondary is in more of a dire need to be rebuilt.
If the Rams trade Ramsey, it leaves them with Cobie Durant and Derion Kendrick as the team’s top two cornerbacks. While Durant showed promise and flashes as a rookie, without any resemblance of a pass rush, that’s not a duo that exudes a lot of confidence. That’s not to mention that Durant is more of an inside-outside player rather than a full-time player on the outside due to his small stature.
At safety, the Rams could lose both Nick Scott and Taylor Rapp. Fuller showed a lot of upside early in his career, but has been hurt much of the last two seasons. This leaves a pair late-round rookies in Yeast and Lake without a lot of experience as two of the top three options.
The offensive line is certainly in need of help, but most of the perception of the offensive line has to do with injuries they sustained last season. Alaric Jackson, Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton, and Rob Havenstein are all at least serviceable players when healthy and they have experience. Logan Bruss is a third-round rookie who will also be returning after suffering an injury during the preseason.
As mentioned, the offensive line and secondary are likely 1a and 1b when it comes to Rams need. An argument could be made that the offensive line should be prioritized as everything starts up front.
With that said, the offensive line isn’t the only Rams need this offseason and it won’t fix every problem that the Rams have on the roster. Other positions will need addressed and one of those areas is the secondary.