Did the LA Rams land a secondary starter at 182 in Tre Tomlinson?
By Bret Stuter
If you know the LA Rams struggles in the secondary throughout the 2022 NFL season, you know that the Rams needed to invest in their pass defense. While adding a pair of pass rushers earlier in the 2023 NFL Draft may have addressed that need to bolster pass defense somewhat, it did not offer as much reason for hope as some fans may have wanted.
Making matters worse, the LA Rams were now in Round 6 of the draft without so much as a single defensive back addition. That meant that unless the LA Rams pulled off some type of draft-day miracle, the Rams' secondary would enter the 2023 NFL season no better than it ended the 2022 NFL season. In fact, worse after the trade that send DB Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins.
But these LA Rams have a sneaky way of letting hope flicker like a flame in the wind, only to come roaring back. So it was that the LA Rams managed to select defensive back Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson with the 182nd overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. And I'm not overselling the fact that he has a legitimate chance of earning a starting role as a rookie on the Rams secondary.
Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson had far higher projections than Round 6. After all, he is an NFL legacy as he is the nephew of Pro Football Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson. As such, he has remarkable instincts as to how and where football plays will take place and simply outthinks his opponent throughout the game.
Because he is ultra competitive, he is the type of rookie who will use being selected at the 182nd overall pick to fuel his passion throughout training camp.
Some have compared him to former LA Rams nickel cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. But I see more similarity in playing style to former defensive back, Darious Williams.
Both Tre Tomlinson and Darious Williams were discounted by their size, and yet Williams proved to be a formidable defensive back. Tomlinson can too. He nearly only allowed one of every third pass to get to his receiver in 2022, and incredibly effective pass defender. And he brings wide ranging experience at lining up anywhere in the secondary and making plays.
I believe he could emerge as a starter in the LA Rams secondary in 2023. And don't worry, we will have plenty more to say about him in the weeks to come.