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Rams Roster Profile: Can S Jordan Fuller return to form?

The Rams need Jordan Fuller to return to form and lead the secondary in 2023

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams have some serious question marks when it comes to the defense, specifically in the secondary. Not only did they trade away Jalen Ramsey, but they also lost Nick Scott and Taylor Rapp in free agency. While Scott and Rapp weren’t all-pros at the safety position, at the very least they brought experience.

Now, heading into 2023, the Rams will be relying on fourth-year safety Jordan Fuller to lead the safety group. Following a strong rookie season, Fuller has struggled to stay healthy over the last two. With an inexperienced safety group, the Rams need the former sixth-round pick to return to form.

Between now and the Rams’ first preseason game, I’m going to preview approximately 45 players on the roster. The goal here will be to highlight players looking to take that next step in 2023 as well as players who will serve as key depth on the roster. I may expand into the occasional star or roster-bubble player, but for the most part we’ll be looking at the players who will truly make or break the Rams season.

Today, we’re looking at Jordan Fuller

2022 Season in Review

Fuller suffered an ankle injury towards the end of 2021, forcing him to miss the Rams’ playoff run. Last season, he then suffered a hamstring injury prior to Week 3 against the Arizona Cardinals. While Fuller returned for Week 4 against the San Francisco 49ers, it was the last game he would play for the season.

Over much of the last two years, Fuller has simply struggled to stay healthy. When he’s on the field, he’s arguably a top-20 safety in the NFL. In fact, he was the third-highest graded safety against the run in 2021 according to Pro Football Focus. Unfortunately, he’s played just six of the Rams’ last 21 regular season games.

The Good/Best Case Scenario

When Fuller has been healthy, he’s arguably one of the top 20 safeties in the NFL. He continued to build on a strong rookie season in 2021 as he became the third-highest graded safety against the run. Even in a down year in 2022 in which he played just three games, he graded at number 12 against the run.

Heading into year four, Fuller will head into a leadership role as the most experienced player in the Rams secondary. This is something he is comfortable with as he was the given the green dot on defense and named a captain in his second year. The best case for Fuller heading into 2023 is that he gets back to playing at the level that many have grown accustomed to throughout his career. Los Angeles is going to need someone in the secondary to step up and that needs to be Fuller.

The Bad/Worst Case Scenario

The injury-prone label sometimes gets thrown around too often by fans. However this is a case where it might be warranted. Fuller missed time in 2020 with a shoulder/neck injury. Then in 2021, he sprained his ankle and misses the Rams’ playoff run. Last season, he missed the majority of the year with a hamstring.

Fuller is a very good player when he’s on the field. Unfortunately, he’s played in 33 out of 54 possible games in career. It’s fair to note that 14 of those missed games came last season. Still, he’s never played a full season healthy without missing a game. The worst case scenario for Fuller is that he once again misses significant time in 2023, forcing inexperienced players at safety to fill in his place when they may not be ready.

Biggest Question: Can Jordan Fuller return to form?

If there are some positives to take away from OTAs when it comes to Fuller, it’s that he had some impressive moments. That has to give off some level confidence when it comes to him returning to a high level.

Fuller is a smart player with a high football IQ that the Rams are going to need to step up on the backend of their defense. With the youth in the secondary, if the Rams are going to have any success defending the pass, they’re going to need Fuller to play at the level that he did in 2020 and 2021. He’ll need to stay healthy to do so.

Roster Battle

There isn't really a roster battle when it comes to Fuller. He’s the most experienced safety on the roster with Quentin Lake, Russ Yeast, and Jason Taylor II behind him.

2023 Outlook and What to Expect

Fuller will be the leader of the secondary as he heads into his fourth year. The Rams will be expecting him to return healthy and take the next step in his development. You can argue that Fuller is the most important piece in the Rams secondary in 2023. How he plays will have a huge impact on how well that group performs one way or the other.

The Rams typically don’t re-sign their safeties to long-term deals. Fuller is entering a contract year and given how much cap space the Rams do have next year, it’s not completely out of the range of possibilities that they would bring him back. The 2023 season will be a big “prove it” type year for Fuller.

Chances of Making Final Roster

There are a few locks to make the Rams final roster and Jordan Fuller is one of them.

Final Roster Confidence: 10/10