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 Robert Rochell
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

Rookie ready to change the model

The LA Rams needed to fill the void left by the outbound defensive back Troy Hill in the 2021 NFL Draft. The question is, did the front office overshoot the mark? After all, Robert Rochell has some serious upside.  The only problem is that he competed on a small school football program, and many teams focused on the major football programs.

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That worked out just fine for the LA Rams, who landed an amazing 6-foot-2 195-pound defensive back who runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash and records a 43-inch vertical jump. Superman was faster than a speeding bullet and was able to leap over a tall building with a single bound. While Robert Rochell is not superman, he is a far cry better than Clark Kent.

Both skills create a foundation for an elite defensive back. Now the question is can the LA Rams coaching staff help him harness all of that raw energy into the ability to shut down a receiver? Clearly, other NFL teams were unconvinced because they moved in other directions. But the LA Rams, in need of reinforcements in the secondary, did not hesitate. His draft profile described an NFL prospect who was absolutely worth the investment.

Since 2015, the LA Rams now have two of four players who are taller than 5-foot-10 and boast a wingspan of 6-foot-6 or greater, have run a 4.4-second 40-yard dash, and have recorded over 40-inches in the vertical jump. Chris Spooner of suggested that Rochell could be the most athletic cornerback ever drafted.

The upside of Rochell is.. well… outer space. Potential is not worth much, since by its very definition it is not realized. But tap the brakes a moment. This young man just arrived in the NFL. He is coached by Secondary Coach Ejiro Evero, the same coach who turned Jordan Fuller into a day one starter with almost no training camp, and he will play alongside All-Pro defensive back Jalen Ramsey. One freakishly athletic rookie defensive back being mentored by a freakishly athletic and successful veteran defensive back?  I’m good with that.

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After all, this is not like 2020. The LA Rams have already benefitted from OTAs. The team will have a full training camp, and three preseason games to sort everything out. That is all a tremendous step up from last season and will be very helpful to a team that is the youngest in the NFL.  Robert Rochell has time on his side. But if the Rams intend to realize their bid to win the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium, Rochell is one of the players who needs to achieve his potential quickly.