The Los Angeles Rams have found success when it comes to drafting and developing safeties in the later portions of the draft. Nick Scott was drafted in the seventh-round in 2019 and Jordan Fuller was taken in the sixth-round in 2020. Both players outplayed their draft positions and contributed as starters.
Under general manager Les Snead, the Rams have done a good job at identifying talent late in the draft at the safety position. In last year’s draft, they selected both Russ Yeast and Quentin Lake. Yeast got some playing time last year and more will be expected of Lake in year two. However, the Rams also drafted another safety on day three this year in Oklahoma State’s Jason Taylor II.
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 seventh-round pick, Jason Taylor II.
Taylor II became known for making big plays for the Oklahoma State. In his first season as a starter, he blocked a field goal on special teams to clinch a victory late in the game. Later in the year, with Oklahoma State trailing Texas, 17-3, Taylor had an 85-yard pick six. His big play-making ability earned him honorable mention All-Big 12
The Rams 7th round draft pick, SAF Jason Taylor II was highly productive at Oklahoma St. and has an In-Game Athleticism (IGA) Score of 87.6.— Reel Analytics (@RAanalytics) May 4, 2023
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Alumn hit 20.7 mph (82%ile) on this pick 6. #RamsHouse #ReelSpeed pic.twitter.com/8K18vYNntn
Last season, Taylor finished with six interceptions, including one against Texas with under two minutes left to secure a 41-34 win. Taylor II made big plays throughout his career and the Rams will be looking for him to do the same in Los Angeles.
The Good/Best Case Scenario
As mentioned, throughout his football playing career, Taylor has been someone who has created big plays for his team. It would be nice to see some of that during his rookie season. Still, it’s hard to see Taylor getting a lot of playing time on defense immediately. The former Oklahoma State safety excels in the box, but will need to clean things up with tackling technique and execution in coverage.
With a young special teams unit, the best case scenario is for Taylor to come in and make an impact on special teams much like Scott did early in his career. The rookie will bring a lot of special teams experience. Taylor blocked a field goal in college and also returned an onside kick for a touchdown. If he can find a role on special teams, that will open things up for him moving forward.
The Bad/Worst Case Scenario
Taylor missed 16 tackles last season and will need to clean that up if he’s going to see time on defense. This is where playing special teams initially could benefit him.
The worst case scenario is that Taylor doesn’t make the roster and ends up on the practice squad. With players like Yeast and Lake, the Rams do have some depth here. Quindell Johnson and Rashad Torrence will be competing for roster spots as well. While there is opportunity at safety, there is also a lot of competition.
Biggest Question: Is Jason Taylor II the next late-round gem at safety?
It’s far too early to make this sort of declaration. However, when it comes to Taylor, there is a lot of potential here. This is a player that simply made plays at the college level and in the Big 12 where the offense tend to be some of the best in the nation.
There is a lot of opportunity at the safety position. Outside of Fuller, everybody in unproven. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Taylor impresses early and earns a starting role. He was one of the most athletic safeties in the draft class, but that will need to translate to the field.
Competition will be plentiful at the safety position during Rams training camp. While Fuller has his roster spot locked up, everybody behind him should be competing for a spot. Yeast and Lake will be favorites. However, as a seventh-round pick, nothing will be guaranteed for Taylor.
Taylor will likely be competing with Quindell Johnson, Rashad Torrence III, and Tanner Ingle for one roster spot. Johnson and Torrence are both names to watch. If Taylor ends up on the final 53-man roster, he will have earned it.
2023 Outlook and What to Expect
A lot can happen with Taylor during his rookie season. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him earn a starting role and take over the box safety role left by Taylor Rapp. At the same time, special teams is the most likely scenario at least early on for the seventh-round pick.
Taylor was a special teams ace at Oklahoma State and the Rams will be looking for him to make an impact there as they rebuild their special teams unit. This is probably the most beneficial scenario for Taylor as well as he won’t be thrown into the fire immediately when he may not be ready.
Chances of Making Final Roster
As mentioned, there will be a lot of competition at the safety position. With that said, Taylor should be seen as the favorite. It wouldn't be surprising if someone like Johnson or Torrence snuck onto the roster, but they may be better suited for the practice squad. Taylor should be able to come in and make an impact on special teams which is something that the Rams will value.
Final Roster Confidence: 6.3/10