Reason I: His athleticism is off the chart
One of the themes of the LA Rams 2021 NFL Draft was the athleticism of the rookies chosen. On more than one occasion, the writeup of the player chosen by the Rams front office read more like a description of an Olympics Gold Medal winner of the latest Decathalon event. That is what attracted the Rams scouting team to him, despite his small-school background.
The LA Rams had shrunk in the secondary quite a bit during the 2021 NFL season. The Rams simultaneously 5-foot-9 159-pound defensive back Donte Deayon alongside 5-foot-9 187-pound teammate Darious Williams. While both could play, and at times play very well, the tandem was simply not big enough to handle the big-bodied presences of tight ends like Zach Ertz and George Kittle. So that burden had to be born by DB Jalen Ramsey.
Rochell, like Ramsey, is cut from a different bolt of cloth
That is not true of the 6-foot-2 195-pound Robert Rochell, who can stare into the eyes of all but the tallest receivers, even the big ole burly tight end types. His 4.41-second 40-yard dash allows him to stay stride-for-stride with even the fastest receivers in the NFL.
Okay, so how did the guy who can stick with the biggest, the burliest, and the fastest players in the NFL fall to the LA Rams and their 130th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft? Simple enough. He played for a small school, and that diluted his skillsets in the minds of many NFL scouts and teams. He was too ‘raw’, a player who simply won his one-on-one matchups because he was athletically superior.