The LA Rams had several breakout contributors that helped the team return to the playoffs in 2023 after a one-year absence. Puka Nacua, Kyren Williams, Kevin Dotson and Ahkello Witherspoon were among the unexpected players that help fuel LA’s postseason push.
None of those players, aside from Puka, where expected to contribute much on the field this season. That “Fearsome Foursome 2.0” if you will, easily exceeded expectations. Who will the next breakout star underneath the Hollywood lights?
PFF’s Jonathon Macri named Rams’ second-year cornerback Quentin Lake as an early breakout candidate ahead of the 2024 campaign. In his January 26 article, Macri believes Lake has performed well enough to maintain his hold on the starting job:
“Lake didn’t emerge on the Rams defense as a consistent contributor until about Week 6 of his second year in the league, where he began fulfilling the nickel corner duties for the defense. Lake struggled throughout this first year as a starter but eventually started to play better and increase his playing time, ultimately leading to a strong 70.0 overall PFF grade, 77.2 PFF run-defense grade and 66.6 PFF coverage grade, including the playoffs. The 2022 sixth-round pick appeared to perform well enough to potentially hold down that starting job for 2024.”
Ahead of training camp last July, TST’s own Blaine Grisak wondered whether the UCLA product would actually make the roster in ‘23. The former sixth-round battled through injuries and played only 63 defensive snaps during his rookie season. Basically Lake was an massive question mark entering this year.
Lake easily surpassed that mark in his sophomore campaign by playing 453 defensive snaps (49%) in 14 appearances. He really became a viable player starting in a Week 6 loss to the Eagles. Following that game, Lake registered 44 total tackles, five passes defended and a fumble recovery. There were flashes throughout the season including during the 30-22 win over the Saints before a national audience.
It would be ideal to see Lake continue his upward trajectory. While the defense performed better than expected in what was a so-called “remodeling” year, there needs to be consistency across the board if the unit wishes to maintain its progress next season. We’ve heard from PFF and now I want to hear from you, Turf Show Ramily. Yeah, don’t think you could dodge this discussion.
Who do you peg as an early breakout candidate for the Rams in 2024 and why? Drop a name and your reasoning in the comments!