What will the LA Rams secondary look like in 2023?
By Bret Stuter
There have been plenty of hisses, catcalls, and boos over the way that the LA Rams secondary has played in 2022. Of course, with an offense that has struggled to put points on the scoreboard, the fans have found plenty of vitriol to spread across all aspects of the team, including the Rams’ pass defense which has been perceived as being underwhelming. But how bad has it been, and how will the secondary look in 2023?
For starters, the Rams’ pass defense has allowed 226.5 yards per game (22nd), 20 touchdowns (tied for 11th), and gotten 14 interceptions (tied for 5th). That’s pretty impressive with a defense that only recorded 35 quarterback sacks (tied for 18th). Objectively speaking, that is also not bad considering the fact that the LA Rams secondary has been suffering from plenty of injuries this season. In short, this is a very young secondary.
In 2020, the Rams’ pass defense finished the season by allowing 190.7 yards per game (1st), 17 touchdowns (1st), and 14 interceptions (tied 12th). In 2021, the Rams’ pass defense finished the season by allowing 241.7 yards per game (22nd), 17 touchdowns (2nd), and 19 interceptions (tied 3rd).
So can the Rams expect better in 2023? I think so, yes.
The LA Rams roster matures in 2023
The LA Rams loaded up on defensive backs via the 2022 NFL Draft. After getting a lot of experience this season, they will be back in 2023, rested, revved, and raring to go.
- Player Posn Yrs RoleJalen Ramsey CB 8 StarterCobie Durant CB 2 StarterDerion Kendrick CB 2 Slot/RotationRobert Rochell CB 3 RotationJordan Fuller FS 4 StarterRuss Yeast S 2 StarterQuentin Lake S 2 RotationT.J. Carter CB 1 Projected depth (PS)Richard LeCount S 1 Projected depth (PS)Shaun Jolly CB 2 ERFA Projected depth (projected re-sign)
It’s a safe bet to look for the Rams to add at least four defensive backs in the 2023 off-season. But let’s look at the team’s projected starters (presuming that everyone stays healthy)
The Rams will return both Jalen Ramsey and Cobie Durant for 2023, cornerbacks who have already played a total of 11 games together in 2022. With the healthy return of Jordan Fuller likely pairing with Russ Yeast, the Rams’ safeties will be very strong in pass defense. But what of that run support role that the Rams have counted on from their safeties in the past?
The performance of the Rams’ inside linebacker tandem of veterans Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones has all but eliminated the need for a Taylor Rapp-type safety, and that should be very good news for a pass defense that has been a bit limited in terms of the pass defense options.
Depending on the results of the Rams’ 2023 NFL Draft, the Rams could land one or two key defensive backs who could prove to be key contributors to the defense next season. But look for the biggest boost to come from the rookie class of 2022, whose first NFL season will serve as a tremendous foundation to build upon for Year 2.
There is a lot to process and coordinate for any defensive back in their rookie season. That is all water under the bridge for numerous rookies who will return to compete next season. And with a significant number of defensive backs on the LA Rams roster entering the NFL and developing together, there is significant upside for this secondary next season.
Is the glass half full? Sure, why not? The Rams will be better next season, and the secondary is just one reason for that improvement.