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Will Cobie Durant be Rams “breakout star” next season?

L.A. has opportunities on defense for players to step up

Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

In the months since the L.A. Rams traded Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins, much attention has been focused on who the team might like the most as the next number one cornerback on the defense. Though Derion Kendrick saw the most playing time last season of the remaining options, and Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson is the new guy and already one of the most marketable players on the roster, Cobie Durant has also been picked as the Rams’ next breakout star.

At least, that’s what’s Adam Rank thinks:

The emergence of Durant late last season might have been one of the factors that made the Rams comfortable with moving on from Jalen Ramsey. Not the only factor, mind you. Still, the 2022 fourth-round pick seems poised to not only replace Ramsey when it comes to holding court with reporters, but also on the field. From Week 13 (when his defensive snap count began to tick upward) through the end of the regular season, Durant posted a completion percentage over expectation of -10.6, according to Next Gen Stats — fifth-lowest among rookies with 100-plus coverage snaps in that span. He’s going to need to live up to his promise if the Rams are to improve on their rankings in yards allowed (19th) and passing yards allowed (21st).

Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris will likely need to lean heavily on his top corner, if that is in fact Durant or if it turns out to be somebody else, just as the Rams did with Ramsey for the past 3.5 seasons.

In limited time, Durant had a few highlight plays during his rookie season, and the South Carolina State product led the NFL in most interception return yards with 151. He is exceptionally fast and he could be one of the top defensive playmakers in the NFC West if all breaks right.

But he also has the advantage, at least far as L.A.’s breakout candidates go, of being on a defense that desperately needs to unearth a few long-term starters. Past Aaron Donald, who is hardly a “long-term” cornerstone at this stage of his career, the Rams can’t be sure who will still be starting for the team in 2024 or 2025. Or even 2023.

Durant has an opportunity to be one of those players, but first he’ll need to hold off—and help out—a few of his teammates.

Let me know in the comments who you would pick as L.A.’s breakout star for 2023.