Will the LA Rams start Terrell Burgess next to Jordan Fuller in 2021?

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

Finding a starting defensive back in an NFL Draft in any given year is a tough task. Finding two starting defensive backs is nearly impossible. But finding two starters for the same secondary is next-to-impossible without a first-round pick. But don’t tell that to the LA Rams general manager Les Snead. You see, he has a way of making the impossible not only possible but likely,

One of the best NFL drafts of any team in landing starting defensive backs occurred in the 2002 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles when the team drafted Lito Sheppard, Michael Brown, and Sheldon Brown in the same draft. But let’s caveat that by mentioning that the Eagles drafted all three by the 59th selection. In that year, the Eagles draft Sheppard at 26, Lewis and 58, and Brown at 59. The trio would combine to play 429 NFL games. Not a bad haul in one NFL Draft.

And yet, the LA Rams may have outdone that draft.  Well, certainly in terms of the potential of striking gold deep in the 2020 NFL Draft, at least. In the 2020 NFL Draft, the LA Rams chose 6-foot-0 198-pound Utah safety Terrell Burgess with the 109th selection. They then doubled down to grab 6-foot-2 204-pound Ohio State University safety Jordan Fuller with the 199th selection.

Both are now very much in the running for starting roles for the top-ranked NFL defense this year. Two starting safeties in 2021 from selections at 109 and 199 in the 202 NFL Draft? That’s almost too good to be true.

The Rams depth chart could boast both 2020 rookies starting at safety

And yet, here we are. I don’t think it is any stretch of the imagination to project 2020 starter Jordan Fuller to reclaim that role in 2021. It’s also looking less likely that the Rams will have the funds necessary to re-sign 2020 veteran safety John Johnson III for 2021.  So it comes down to either Terrell Burgess or Taylor Rapp as the other starting safety in 2021. That’s a 50/50 shot right now.

I like Burgess’s chances to win the role.

Burgess was injured in the fourth quarter in the victory against the Chicago Bears, an ankle injury that would shut him down for the rest of the season. Sadly, it was his most impressive game of the season. In one play, he made an incredible open-field tackle on wide receiver/running back  Cordarell Patterson at the 10-yard line to keep the Bears pinned deep.

Clearly, he was hurt just as everything ‘clicked’ for him. While that was both disappointing and saddening for the young man for his 2020 rookie season, it sets the stage for a breakout 2021 season.

So why would starting both former rookies Terrell Burgess and Jordan Fuller at the safety position be so special? Both starting from the same NFL draft class gives them both a shared loyalty and bond that is unique to them both. Since both were drafted in 2020, the LA Rams will enjoy three more NFL seasons of their play before either enter NFL Free Agency, cementing the back end of the LA Rams defense for the foreseeable future.

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Taylor Rapp, while very dangerous, seemed to fit the role of third safety very well in 2020, and would be asked to repeat that role if Burgess and Fuller get the safety starts this year. Even before the LA Rams jump headfirst into the 2021 NFL Free Agency market, their roster is taking shape.