With the 142nd pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, the LA Rams select defensive back Decobie Durant, from South Carolina State. With that pick, the Rams front office began what felt like an unending stream of incoming rookie defensive backs to this roster. In the fourth round, the team added Durant.
But by the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the flood gates opened, and the team added:
- UCLA safety Quentin Lake with the 211th overall pick
- Georgia cornerback Derion Kendrick with the 212th overall pick
- Kansas State safety Russ Yeast with the 253rd overall pick.
Eight draft picks in and four defensive backs out. Joining the secondary can be either a huge bonus or a huge challenge for a young rookie trying to make his start to a long and successful NFL career. A challenge insomuch that to make it with the Rams, you not only must impress some of the best positional coaches in the NFL, but you have to impress your teammates. One such teammate is All-Pro defensive back, Jalen Ramsey.
On the other hand, there is that bonus too. The bonus is knowing that if you make it on the LA Rams secondary, you can make it anywhere in the NFL. And then there is that remote, almost too small to mention, chance that you may show enough fire and passion for the game to warrant getting some timely and sage guidance from one of the best defensive backs in the NFL.
And that is exactly what is happening for Decobie Durant right now.
"“He (Jalen Ramsey) has taught me how to dial in when I’m on the field. He has taken me under his wing, and taught me a lot. I’m lucky to have him take the time to mentor me in my first season.” – Decobie Durant as per Symone Stanley of HBCU Gameday.com"
To be honest, the young rookie defensive back could not have ended up in a better situation if he had hand-picked his NFL team himself.
Durant was undervalued in the draft as he hails from a less popular South Carolina State college football program. He was a quarterback and free safety in high school football, before taking on the challenge of cornerback in college.
Ball hawker, just the way Raheem Morris likes his DBs
Despite hailing from a small college football program, he earned a savage reputation as being a ball-hawking defensive back throughout his college career. The only question was, could he compete against the best in the NCAA? That question was answered when he was a standout in the East-West Shrine Game.
One minor point that really stood out to me is the fact that Decobie Durant mentions that he is not just competing for himself, but rather is competing to open doors to fellow players. That really hits home for me and tells me that he won’t fail.
He is not a plug-n-play Day 1 starter, but that should shock nobody who knows what to expect in Round 4 of an NFL Draft. He will need some work in the weight room, some coaching on his tackling and shedding blockers, and some refinement in route recognition. But he will get into the LA Rams rotation this year and could be a force to be reckoned with when the season heats up for the NFL Playoffs.
Look for Durant to begin the season in a special team role, and perhaps some cameo appearances in the defensive secondary rotation. But he is savvy enough to pick his spot, and pick off a pass or two. From that point on, he will have opportunities. Hopefully, he will take full advantage of them.