Amid roster "re-tool", these 3 LA Rams could enjoy a breakout 2023 season
Player 2: ILB Ernest Jones
The Rams did release 2022 second team All-Pro LB Bobby Wagner, but there will still be some continuity at that position. Rams LB Ernest Jones is entering his 3rd year in the NFL, and 2nd year as a full-time starter.
While there is still plenty of time to get the roster together, the Rams' defense on paper looks extremely youthful and thin. As the only returning starter on the unit from 2022 not named Aaron Donald, the plan that the Rams had for Jones when drafting him could come to fruition in 2023.
Jones was drafted in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and the team was extremely high on him. The plan was that he would become a bonafide starter, and eventual cornerstone of the defense and organization. When the Rams signed Bobby Wagner in 2022, a future HOFer who has reached the pinnacle of the position, apart of the reasoning for it was to provide mentorship to a young Ernest Jones. After a year of learning under the games' best, Ernest should be ready to take his game even a step further in 2023.
Jones had an improved year in '22, playing in all 17 games and registering 114 total tackles and an interception. He is a very aggressive, run defender who is a sure tackler and plays with a motor that few guys can match. Areas he could improve in are pass coverage, and over pursuing run gaps.
Ernest Jones has an opportunity in 2023 to stand out and shut up the doubters on a unit that will enter the season regarded as one of the league's worst. With Aaron Donald likely playing some of his last years in the NFL, Jones has a chance to make the Rams' defense his for years to come.
Jones has already reached the 100-tackle season milestone, so what could we expect a breakout year to look like for him? 125+ tackles, a Pro Bowl nod, and possibly an All-Pro nod as well.