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Will Jordan Fuller reclaim his defensive captain status for Rams in 2023?

After a meteoritic rise over his first two seasons, Fuller is now an enigma on a defense full of other unknowns

Los Angeles Rams Training Camp Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Jordan Fuller came out of seemingly nowhere to win the starting safety job alongside John Johnson in 2020 as a rookie sixth round pick for the Los Angeles Rams. This was the first and only year with Brandon Staley coordinating the LA defense, though Fuller’s skillset seemed to be a perfect fit as the Rams embraced schematic changes.

The safety’s meteoric rise continued into his second season where he was named a team captain and defensive signal caller on a unit that included the likes of Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Floyd, A’Shawn Robinson, Sebastian Joseph-Day, and others. Fuller’s status as a team captain solidified the idea that LA identified a draft steal in the sixth round and found a potential cornerstone piece for the secondary.

But Fuller was injured towards the end of the regular season. The Rams signed Eric Weddle out of retirement in order to take over Fuller’s duties as defensive signal caller and leader of the secondary. The promising, young safety missed out on a historic playoff run and victory in Super Bowl LVI.

A new season in 2022 did not seem to bring better fortune in Fuller’s third year. Perhaps he was still working his way back to form from injury during training camp, or maybe he will never return to the same level of production. Either way, Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott both earned starting opportunities over Fuller—whose season ended with a hamstring injury suffered in Week 4. Players working back from significant injuries usually have an elevated level of risk for soft tissue injuries in the short-term after their initial return, and that seemed to be the case for the young safety a year ago.

Fortunately, Fuller asserted that he’s now fully healthy and is ready to help lead a Rams defense that has undergone a significant youth movement this offseason. Aside from Donald, Fuller and LB Ernest Jones are the elder statesman in their fourth and third seasons, respectively.

The defensive back room is also incredibly green with Quentin Lake and Russ Yeast returning for their second NFL campaigns at safety, and they are joined by rookie late-round pick Jason Taylor. The Rams have demonstrated the ability to develop unheralded players and help them become meaningful contributors—much of their success in this regard has come at safety.

Can Fuller re-establish himself as a leader on the Rams defense and potentially reclaim his status as a team captain? Los Angeles will depend heavily on the fourth-year safety to lead a very young defense as the team looks to foster competition and turn the page to a new era of Rams football.