The Los Angeles Rams most certainly had their attention on the defensive backs on Friday at the NFL Combine. The team is set to lose safeties Nick Scott and Taylor Rapp in free agency and then are considering trading cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Even if the Rams were to keep Ramsey and bring back someone like Scott, adding some depth at both positions wouldn’t be a bad idea. Here are seven defensive backs who tested well on Friday in Indianapolis.
1. CB Deonte Banks, Maryland
I’m holding out hope that Deonte Banks is still available when the Rams select at 36th overall. However, that is looking to be less and less the case. After his performance on Friday, he may have jumped into the first round. Banks ran a 4.35 40-yard dash and led all cornerbacks with a 42-inch vertical. Banks also ranked second in the broad jump behind only Julius Brents out of Kansas State.
Official numbers for Maryland CB Deonte Banks— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) March 3, 2023
40-yard: 4.35 (92nd percentile)
Vert: 42” (97th percentile)
Broad: 11’4” (98th percentile)
That athleticism absolutely shows up on tape as one of the best coverage players in that class. First round playerpic.twitter.com/ebfvn25dak
The Rams love cornerbacks with speed. Since 2018, only Derion Kendrick has posted poor speed scores and still been drafted by the Rams. If the Rams trade Jalen Ramsey, Banks would be a very good option as a young cornerback to build around.
2. CB Jakorian Bennett, Maryland
Sticking with the theme or Maryland cornerbacks, Bennett also had a very good day of testing at the combine. Bennett ranked second in the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.30 and also ranked top-5 in the vertical and broad jump. His 10-yard split in the 40-yard dash also ranked third.
Maryland’s Deonte Banks (98) and Jakorian Bennett (97) became the first teammates at the same position to post 95+ athleticism scores at the same combine over the last two decades.@TerpsFootball | #NFLCombine pic.twitter.com/6qcCFwFGMS— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 4, 2023
It would not be surprising to see the Rams take Bennett with the 69th overall pick. He displayed great athleticism on Friday and fits exactly what the Rams have drafted in the position in the past. If possible, the Rams would be wise to draft one of the two Maryland cornerbacks.
3. CB Darrell Luter Jr., South Alabama
Luter Jr. is a late-round target to keep an eye on during the draft process. He’s a little smaller at only 5’11, 189-lbs. However, he caught some attention on Friday with his testing. He ran the same 40-time as Joey Porter Jr. at 4.46. In the vertical, he posted a score of 40.5 inches which ranked fifth for the day among cornerbacks.
From South Alabama, Luter Jr. is from a smaller school, but possesses the physicality and ball skills that the Rams have targeted in the past. He may go on day three, but with the right team, he’ll have success.
4. CB Darius Rush, South Carolina
Rush confirmed how fast he was by running a 4.37 at the Combine on Friday. He was expected to be one of the fastest cornerbacks in Indianapolis and proved to be exactly that with his 40-time.
He could have done better in the vertical and broad jump, but didn’t do poorly in those test scores by any means. He’ll be another mid-round target that the Rams would have to consider if available.
Darius Rush running a 4.37 is one of the more underrated developments today. Put up top-tier GPS speed numbers at the Senior Bowl, and this is just confirmation.— Ian Cummings (@IC_Draft) March 3, 2023
He’s a little older, but he has everything you want on the boundary.
5. S Sydney Brown, Illinois
Brown isn’t a flashy prospect and will likely go a lot later than he should. Whoever drafts him is going to wonder how he fell. He impressed at the Senior Bowl and did well again at the Combine.
The Illinois safety ran a 4.48 40-time which ranked fourth among safeties and then he also ranked top-three in the broad jump and vertical. Brown helped his draft stock on Friday.
6. S Daniel Scott, Cal
Scott is a potential late-round target at safety, but he may have helped his draft stock a bit on Friday. He posted the second-best 40-time among safeties and like Brown, also recorded top-5 scores in the vertical and broad jump.
The Rams seem to value traits more than test scores when it comes to the safety position. However, Scott did well in Indianapolis and could be someone on the Rams’ radar as they are set to lose Scott and Rapp in free agency.
7. S Jason Taylor II, Oklahoma State
Taylor II feels like the perfect safety that the Rams have typically drafted in the mid-late rounds and he tested well on Friday. He ran a 4.5 40-time which ranked sixth and his 10-yard split of 1.52 was the fourth-fastest. Where he impressed however was in the vertical and broad jump where he posted top-three scores in both. His 43-inch vertical is what really caught eyes.
2023 Safety Athleticism Score Leaderboard— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 4, 2023
With the official 40 times in, Daniel Scott (@CalFootball) and Jason Taylor II (@CowboyFB), currently sit atop the NGS athleticism score rankings pending shuttle drills. pic.twitter.com/cWUvUhxB9A
Taylor II led the Big-12 with six interceptions last season. He may be more of a special teams contributor out of the gate, but would be good safety depth and someone that the Rams could develop. Considered a late-round pick or undrafted free agent, Taylor II helped his stock on Friday.
- CB Julius Brents, Kansas State
- CB Typique Stevenson, Miami
- S Brandon Hill, Pitt
One of the reasons #RAS exists is so we can look at performances like the one Julius Brents put up and recognize it for the elite athletic performance it was, without dwelling on a pedestrian 40 time.https://t.co/DYGZxA7Xa6 #RAS pic.twitter.com/fePhpDUTBB— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 4, 2023
It’s certainly worth noting Brents’ performance at the Combine. He finished first in the broad jump and second in the vertical. His broad jump of 11 feet, six inches was the talk of the day. Still he’s much bigger than the Rams typically draft and didn’t post good scores in the 40. It would be a surprise if the Rams drafted Brents.