LA Rams DB Coach Aubrey Pleasant now holds a pair of pocket 'Tre's

Los Angeles Rams Minicamp
Los Angeles Rams Minicamp / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

The LA Rams got a great deal of production out of their modest investment in the secondary last season. Per, the Rams spent just $9.8 million on their secondary in 2023, which was the 30th-ranked amount paid to defensive backs last season. Despite the frugality, the team's secondary was the 20th-ranked passing defense in terms of yards allowed, the 22nd-ranked secondary in terms of touchdowns allowed, the 23rd-ranked secondary in terms of interceptions, and the 23rd-ranked defense in terms of quarterback sacks.

If the LA Rams want to win in the 2025 NFL Playoffs, and compete in Super Bowl LIX, the defense must get better. That will put the pressure on DB Coach Aubrey Pleasant once more. Will he be up to the challenge?

Well, that all depends on how quickly he can bring a pair of Tres online this season. I am referring to his two cornerbacks: Tre Tomlinson and Tre'Various White. So let's give a quick overview on both players:

Second verse, better than the first?

There was not much attention paid to the LA Rams secondary in the 2023 NFL Draft. But the team did manage to sneak in the selection of highly regarded cornerback Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson in Round 6 of the 2023 NFL Draft with the 182nd overall pick. Tomlinson is a 5-foot-9 180-pound defensive back out of TCU who was projected as early as Round 3.

He boasted robust college cornerback experience and an elite production in the TCU secondary. Unfortunately, he was also noted as relying on a handsy coverage technique that he could not shake in the NFL. That handsy approach, plus a horrific facemask penalty that resulted in an ejection, truly tainted his rookie season.

As a rookie, he struggled to crack the lineup, getting just 45 defensive snaps. He also struggled to put NFL receivers in check, allowing five of six passes thrown his way to find the mark. Still, he did manage to get 13 tackles, and remained passionate throughout the year.

Can he show more discipline and better coverage in 2024? There are reasons to believe that he can. After all, the 2023 season overwhelmed the coaching staff with so many rookies that working one-on-one with individual defensive backs was next to impossible. The team signed both veteran CB Ahkello Witherspoon and S John Johnson III initially to help keep the young secondary on track in training camp.

With a season under his belt and an entire punch list of items he needs to work on this offseason, Tre Tomlinson has the script to improve and compete for more playing time in 2024. He can do so too. One of the reasons to expect better production in 2024 is the fact that he will be learning from veteran DB Darious Williams, another cornerback who stands just 5-foot-9 and weighing 187 pounds.

If Tre Tomlinson can improve in 2024, he will be a positive factor in the team's success.

Reclaiming his All-Pro form

LA Rams GM Les Snead is no stranger to rolling the dice on an out-of-favor veteran who hopes to recapture past magic. The team certainly found that in the performance of DB Ahkello Witherspoon in 2023. So it falls in line with that trend that the Rams would be the team to sign former All-Pro CB Tre'Various White.

And the change in scenery may be just what Tre White needs in 2024:

Tre'Davious White stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 192 pounds. He was a 2024 free agent after playing seven seasons for the Buffalo Bills, and earning All-Pro honors in 2019. But he has suffered devastating injuries in the past two consecutive seasons, and he finds himself on the comeback trail and on the Rams roster.

Let's be clear, though. White was a much sought after free agent, with visits scheduled with a number of NFL teams. It was only after taking visits with more than a handful of teams that he was satisfied in the LA Rams offer and potential role. To be clear, Tre'Various White is a presumed starting cornerback for the Rams this season.

If he can stay healthy, he could be a significant upgrade for the secondary.

In 82 games over his career, White has recorded 18 interceptions. If that historic trend continues, he projects to pick off four passes for the defense this season. But wait . . . there's more.

Whether injured or not, White is superb at frustrating quarterbacks and receivers, never allowing a completion rate to exceed 57 percent, and boasting a career completion rate of just 53 percent. He has only allowed nine touchdowns, despite being targeted 343 times. And of those 343 targets, he has broken up the pass 68 times, equating to 20 percent pass breakups.

With White, the team has to be prepared for injury, and that lends itself to a draft selection of a top cornerback in this draft in either Day 1 or 2. But once the roster has a true backup who can start in case of injury, this secondary is ripe for big things this season.

Is a Top-10 pass defense in the cards? All signs point in that direction. After all, DB Coach Aubrey Pleasant boast a pair of pocket Tres. WIth the right selection in the 2024 NFL Draft, he could end up with a Full House.

Thanks for reading.