The Los Angeles Rams are still making minor adjustments to their roster before heading into Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks. On Friday, the team added former Minnesota Vikings cornerback, Duke Shelley. According to The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, there may be an undisclosed injury in the secondary and Shelley adds depth as a player with experience in the system.
Ochaun Mathis to IR; Rams add CB Duke Shelley to active roster. May be an injury in the secondary that has not been disclosed. Shelley would be solid depth in this system, has experience in some shared covg philosophies. Rams required to release first injury report next week.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) September 1, 2023
Shelley is a smaller cornerback at 5’9, but is a player that the Rams would have gotten a close look at this offseason. The former Vikings cornerback spent the offseason with the Las Vegas Raiders. Prior to their game in Week 2 of the preseason, the Rams and Raiders had joint-practices together.
This preseason, Shelley played 77 snaps at cornerback, allowing eight receptions on 12 targets and an average of 8.9 yards per reception. Last season, Shelley got a lot of playing time in the Vikings secondary with almost 400 total snaps. He allowed 20 receptions on 41 targets and 12.5 yards per reception. Shelley had an overall coverage grade of 84.9 according to Pro Football Focus in 2022. This ranked third among cornerbacks last season.
The signing of Shelley gives the Rams six cornerbacks on the roster, but also gives them immediate depth and experience. As Rodrigue alluded to, the Rams may be dealing with an injury here, but we’ll find out more next week. It’s worth noting that Derion Kendrick was dealing with an injury this offseason throughout training camp.
Shelley has experience in the Rams system as well. The Vikings defense was coached by Ed Donatell who worked under Vic Fangio in Denver and Chicago. Since Brandon Staley arrived in 2020, the Rams have ran a version of the Fangio system even when Raheem Morris took over in 2021.
Again, this is more of a depth signing for the Rams, but with how Shelley finished the season in Minnesota and his experience in the system, there may be some upside here.