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Rams Roster Profile: What type of role will Russ Yeast play in secondary?

How large of a role on defense will Russ Yeast have in 2023?

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-OTA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the top priorities for the Los Angeles Rams during training camp will be to figure out their secondary. While Cobie Durant and Jordan Fuller’s spots seemed locked up, everything else remains up for grabs. When it comes to what safety will be playing next to Fuller, it will be between Russ Yeast, Quentin Lake, and Jason Taylor II could be thrown into the mix as well.

Yeast was a seventh-round pick in 2022 and will look to be the latest late-round gem at safety for the Rams. He didn’t see a lot of playing time as a rookie, but showed off some of his versatility in garbage time against the Denver Broncos. Yeast will be the favorite to play next to Fuller, but it is a wide-open competition.

2022 Season in Review

The Rams’ seventh-round pick didn’t play a lot as a rookie. He played in 113 snaps, 34 of which came in one game against the Broncos. That was a game in which the Rams led the majority of the way. Yeast showed off some of his versatility. He primarily lined up as a free safety, but did occasionally line up in the slot.

Outside of his game against the Broncos, Yeast played the majority of the time on special teams. He’ll be looking to take a step forward in year two.

The Good/Best Case Scenario

There are some things to like about Yeast’s game, despite the small sample size. Among safeties to play at least 110 snaps last season, Yeast was the sixth-highest graded player in the run game according to Pro Football Focus.

The best case scenario for Yeast heading into year two is that he shows some growth and is able to contribute more on defense. He may not have a choice given the personnel at the position. However, if he can show that he is comfortable and isn’t a liability in coverage, that would be considered a success.

The Bad/Worst Case Scenario

It’s a small sample size, but Yeast will need to improve in coverage next season. He allowed four receptions on eight targets. Yeast only gave up eight yards per reception, but you would like to see him get his hands on more balls and break up some passes.

As a worst case scenario for Yeast, he fails to make the roster. The Rams don’t have a lot of proven players at the safety position, but they do have guys that will be looking to compete. Jason Taylor II was drafted in the seventh round. Quindell Johnson and Rashad Torrence were also both signed as undrafted free agents.

Biggest Question: Where type of role will Russ Yeast play in the secondary?

Heading into year two, it is presumed that Yeast will be the starter next to Jordan Fuller. Given that he is the player with the most experience, that isn’t too far-fetched. It will be interesting to see how the Rams use their safeties in 2023. Will Yeast be someone that we see on all three downs, or will the Rams rotate players?

This is something that we’ll be paying close attention to during training camp and the preseason. Yeast could also simply end up as depth if players behind him show more during the summer. Still, it seems likely that he ends up as the starter and brings versatility in terms of alignment that the Rams will value.

Roster Battle

The roster battle at safety is one that fans will have a close eye on during training camp. Outside of Fuller, nothing is a guarantee. Taylor is a talented player and Johnson and Torrence are both promising players as well, even though they were undrafted.

Yeast will be favored here as he has a full year in the system. However, he only has a little over 100 live snaps which isn’t enough experience to say that he has a significant advantage over some of the other players.

2023 Outlook and What to Expect

If everything goes as planned, Yeast will be the starting safety next to Fuller in 2023. He’s a player that the Rams liked in the seventh-round last year and his development path seems to suggest he’ll be the starter.

As far as expectations, it’s hard to know exactly what to expect. As a young player, there will certainly be some bumps and inconsistencies. By the end of the year, it’s fair to expect to see some growth and to see him get more comfortable in the system. Fuller is in the final year of his contract and the Rams typically don’t pay safeties. Yeast is the future at the position.

Chances of Making Final Roster

It’s hard to say that Yeast is a lock to make the roster, but he’s about as close to a lock as you can get. It would take a lot for one of the undrafted rookies to knock Yeast off of the final-53.

Final Roster Confidence: 9.2/10