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Did Jalen Ramsey go from NFL’s worst secondary to the league’s best?

ESPN ranking system thinks so

NFL: AUG 19 Preseason - Texans at Rams Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We already know that ESPN’s Mike Clay is not a believer in the L.A. Rams’ youth movement this offseason, at least not for the 2023 season. Clay has ranked the Rams offensive line as the worst in the NFL going into next season, and also has L.A. 32nd on defense and 32nd overall. To add insult to the Rams remodel, Clay took to Twitter again on Monday to remind people of his cornerbacks ranking going into 2023:

“Jalen Ramsey trade launches the Dolphins to #1 and sinks the Rams to #32” says Clay.

It’s hard to see how the Rams could have been ranked that much higher if they had kept Ramsey. His coverage abilities in the last two seasons was not as strong as in his first five years, and even if you could blame some of that on Raheem Morris or the players around him, nothing there would have changed if Ramsey had not been traded.

Perhaps by playing alongside Xavien Howard and Cam Smith, a second round pick out of South Carolina, Ramsey won’t be asked to do as much as what were his assignments on the Rams. He also has safety Javon Holland and good pressure upfront with Bradley Chubb, Christian Wilkins, and Jaelan Phillips.

Given their current state of the defense, the Rams simply don’t have as many starters around the CB1 spot who could take some weight off of his shoulders in 2023. But do the Rams now have the worst cornerbacks unit in the NFL?

They are certainly lacking in experience.

Derion Kendrick had 483 snaps as a rookie last season, while Cobie Durant had 281. Robert Rochell had 26 snaps in 2022, his second year in the league, while Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson will be a rookie in 2023.

That’s a combined 790 snaps between the top-four cornerbacks, plus 234 more from Rochell’s rookie season.

But I also don’t really know that I agree that Miami now has the best cornerbacks room in the NFL because they added Ramsey. Perhaps on a new defense with a new coordinator and different assignments, Ramsey can be the “star” he was for Brandon Staley in 2020 and add the value he had for most of L.A.’s Super Bowl season in 2021. The player who we saw in 2022 and the one who demanded a trade off of the Rams because he “dreamed” of playing for the Dolphins, was he the anomaly or a sign of what’s left in the tank?

I think these rankings will look much different by the end of the season.