What a great draft for the Rams to need DB help

(Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams’ secondary is not exactly a strength of the LA Rams right now, and that’s both shocking and disappointing. The Rams’ pass defense has historically been a focus of the team’s front office, an area that the team has prioritized highly enough to address even in mid-season. It was the LA Rams that finagled their roster to clear salary cap space and a roster spot to facilitate a trade for All-Pro DB Jalen Ramsey.

But the LA Rams‘ secondary was just not very consistent, either in who played or in how well they performed when they did play, in 2022. The Rams played DBs Troy Hill, David Long Jr., Jordan Fuller, Jalen Ramsey, Nick Scott, and Taylor Rapp in Week 1. The following week the team added rookie DB Cobie Bryant and second-year DB Robert Rochell. The following week, the Rams sat Fuller, Durant, Hill, and Long, and played rookie Derion Kendrick and Grant Haley. Fuller returned to the field in Week 4, for the final game of his injury-shortened season.

That all played a part in the Rams’ defensive design and the cushion that the defensive backs ultimately provided to opposing wide receivers. The Rams gave their players the best scheme to be able to make plays. Was it always pretty? No. But when the Rams tightened coverages, the receivers did not seem to struggle to get behind them for a big play.

The good news is that the LA Rams have a solid set of draft picks for the 2023 NFL Draft, and better yet, the 2023 draft class is loaded with defensive backs:

The Rams need help at the defensive line, at the offensive line, at the outside linebacker, and in the secondary. Ten Picks in total, but only two falls on Day 2. So who could be there for the LA Rams? Well, we had stocked a 2023 Big Board for the Rams, and the Rams have historically attended to the needs of the secondary in the draft in the past. The Rams have drafted:

2017:  John Johnson IV (91st overall)
2019:  Taylor Rapp (61st overall)
.            David Long Jr. (79th overall)
2020:  Terrell Burgess (104th overall)
.             Jordan Fuller (199th overall)
2021:   Robert Rochell (130th overall)
2022:   Cobie Durant (142nd overall)
.             Quentin Lake (211th overall)
.             Derion Kendrick (212th overall)
.             Russ Yeast (253rd overall)

Many fans are pointing to the LA Rams’ offensive line as the most critical need for the team. While that is certainly a need, I don’t recommend shrugging off the team’s need in the secondary. The team is projected to lose multiple starters: Taylor Rapp, Nick Scott, David Long Jr., Troy Hill, and even Grant Haley.

I don’t know what the LA Rams plan to do this off-season, but I would not be overly shocked if the team fails to extend any player in the secondary. Should that happen, the Rams will be investing at least one Day 2 draft pick in the secondary.

It’s something the team has done before, and I believe it’s something the Rams may be planning to do so again. The Rams want it to become a strength of the defense in 2023, and I think that it can be once more.

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