How can the Rams make the secondary their primary focus in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Aubrey Pleasant, Los Angeles Rams
Aubrey Pleasant, Los Angeles Rams / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

After the 7-1 finish to the 2023 season, you might think that the LA Rams are good to go for the 2024 NFL season. And in many ways, you are on the right track, as the team did turn the corner in rather dramatic fashion from a string of games that resulted in a record of 8-21 over the course of two seasons to completely turn things around.

The thing is, the team cannot simply regroup in 2024 and pick up where everyone left off in 2023. For starters, many of the key personnel with have changed. The Rams coaching staff has been scattered by promotions to other teams, and that means new methods, philosophies, plans, and communications with players.

Speaking of players, the Rams are projected to lose four key defensive backs this offseason. We had covered the team's off-season tasks and identified four veterans whose contracts are about to expire. They are Ahkello Witherspoon (starting CB), Duke Shelley (rotational CB), Jordan Fuller (starting S), and John Johnson III (starting S). While the team's finances are in much better shape now than this time one year ago, there is little chance that the team will re-sign everyone.

In fact, if past practice is any indication, the team may elect not to extend anyone.

While that may seem a bit radical, particularly considering the fact that the defense was relatively young heading into the 2023 NFL season to begin with, the team seemed to excel at finding the right players for the roles that were available on the Rams roster. Can lightning strike a second time for the team? Can GM Les Snead pin the team's hopes on rookies who are selected in the 2024 NFL Draft? There are 68 defensive backs attending the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine, which by rote math alone should mean at least two or more prospects could hear their names called by the Los Angeles Rams.

But I would not be shocked in the least if the team added three or more defensive backs in this year's draft. This year's rookie class is bursting with talent and with the surplus of top-tier quarterbacks, wide receivers, and offensive tackles, many of the best defensive backs are likely to fall to the Rams in each round.

The talent will be there. Will the Rams make defensive backs a priority? In terms of effectiveness in 2023, the Rams pass defense came in as the 20th ranked defense in terms of yards per game. But breaking it down a bit further, the team was 23rd in terms of passing touchdowns allowed, 23rd in terms of interceptions, and 23rd in terms of quarterback sacks. Investing in secondary talent is one sure way to improve the team's effectiveness against the pass.

The team has any number of directions to go in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, But my expectation is that the Rams will land a top cornerback with the 19th overall pick. Not only does bolstering the pass defense hold significant bang for the buck, but there are multiple defensive backs in this class who could earn the moniker of shutdown cornerback.

An NFL Championship team needs to have one to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. That is why I believe that the Rams secondary will likely be the primary focus in the 2024 NFL Draft