LA Rams Camp Showdown VI: David Long Jr vs. Robert Rochell

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
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LA Rams News David Long Jr.
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

Veteran ready to shine

From the moment that the LA Rams drafted David Long Jr. with the 79th pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, the question has been constantly asked: When will David Long Jr. see the field? Well, truth be told, he’s been rotating into the secondary a bit in each of his first two seasons. He appeared in eight games in 2019 and saw action on 109 defensive snaps.  He followed that up with appearances in all 16 games in 2020, including one start. He saw action on 116 defensive snaps last season.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

In 2019, he recorded nine tackles and defended two passes. In 2020, he recorded seven tackles. His pass defense was a bit more effective, as he allowed just nine of 13 passes to find their mark. In 2020, five of six passes slipped through to find their target. While neither is much of a population to form any conclusions, it’s also not very effective evidence to compel the coaches to earmark him for a larger role in 2021.

Standing 5-foot-11 and weighing 196-pounds, Long is a very similarly sized defensive back to Troy Hill’s 5-foot-11 and 183-pound playing size. Perhaps that is why Long has struggled so mightily to get onto the football field, as his role was almost identical to Troy Hill, and Hill was the starter. After all, the majority of Long’s play has been on special teams so far.

He was an outside cornerback in college, where he was very effective as a physical press coverage cornerback. But for the LA Rams, the defensive back role has been a bit varied. You see, the Rams mix press-man with zone, and due to the way Jalen Ramsey picks the best receiver to defend, other defensive backs must pick up the remaining roles.

Now with Hill out, Long is clearly expecting to assume a larger role on this defense. After all, he’s put in the time, and he’s paid his dues for two years.  He clearly has established a repoire with his teammates, has had two years to learn the coverages, and has been working with the coaching staff to improve each season. The next logical step is to step up, take the football field, and showcase everything that made some believe that he was the steal of the 2019 NFL Draft.

It’s now or never.