Considering the state of the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive unit heading into the 2023-2024 campaign, there is a dire need for someone not named Aaron Donald to emerge as a leader of what projects to be one of the youngest units in the NFL. Will it be Ernest Jones, the man entering his third season out of South Carolina? Will it be Cobie Durant? Maybe a sleeper like Robert Rochell?
The man I believe will emerge as that leader behind Aaron Donald is entering his final contractual season with the Rams: Jordan Fuller. Entering his fourth season in the NFL, Fuller turned out to be a flat out diamond in the rough in his rookie season back in 2020. Drafted with the 199th overall pick in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, no one anticipated Fuller coming in and being more than a special-teamer in his first year in the league.
Turned out that Fuller had other plans, as he turned heads very quickly in Rams training camp, which eventually led to Fuller becoming a starting safety for the team when they kicked off the season that year. Fuller stood out right away, making it clear how he beat out veterans for the spot despite being a late-round pick.
In 2021, Fuller looked even better and was voted a team captain, as the second-year man (at the time) 113 tackles and an interception in his sophomore campaign. However, an unfortunate injury in the final game of that season knocked Fuller out for the playoff run, and he was forced to watch his team go on a Super Bowl run with him on the sidelines.
Fast-forward to last season, Fuller was finally healthy and ready to contribute as a leader on the defense. But, one again, an injury derailed his season, limiting him to just three of the first four games of the 2022 season. After week four, Fuller was out due to injury, destroying his third year in the league.
Heading into this season, however, Fuller is back to full strength, and seems ready to contribute big-time. In a press conference a couple weeks back, Fuller spoke in the tone of a leader, as he said the following:
“I care about my work, I care about my teammates, I care about the tape I put on film, I care if one of my teammates is down (and) try to pick them up. I guess it just shows in my actions. I don’t really go out of my way to be a leader, I just operate how I operate and that’s just how it pans out.”
Those are the words of a player that is eager to get back out on the field and do what he does best. Injuries are horrible, but they are an integral part of football and occur to any and everyone, so it is nothing he cannot bounce back from.
As he enter a contract season, I’m sure Fuller is fully focused on proving he’s worth a second-deal with the Rams and, if not the Rams, elsewhere as well. Not only is Fuller desperate for a productive season, the Rams NEED him to be productive in order to make their defense better. The team needs him not only as the hell of a player that he is, but they also need a man to help the great Aaron Donald lead, and I believe Jordan Fuller is the man for the job.