LA Rams free up roster slot to activate this once-promising defensive back

Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams, Duke Shelley, Jordan Fuller
Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams, Duke Shelley, Jordan Fuller / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

The LA Rams are making their final adjustments to their availability ahead of the NFL Playoffs, and if recent history is any indication, it's worth noting what those changes to the Rams roster are. If you recall, it was the ability to lure former DB Eric Weddle out of his two-year retirement that truly sparked the LA Rams secondary, and ultimately the team, to win four straight playoff games after the 2021 NFL season.

You might also recall that the LA Rams won five of their final six games heading into the playoffs that year. This year, the LA Rams have won seven of their last eight. So yes, Rams are more than a little curious whenever the front office tinkers with the Rams roster heading into the playoffs.

The excitement began with a report that the LA Rams would be parting ways with DE Ernest Brown IV. Brown was drafted in Round 5 of the 2021 NFL Draft with the 174th overall pick. But even though he was drafted, he has seen limited action for the LA Rams on defense. He played in five games in 2022, and has seen action in seven games in 2023. Overall, he had generated five tackles on 56 defensive snaps.

The move, while understandable, was a bit of a surprise from the timing. After all, the 17 game regular season is over. So why are the Rams waiving a player now?

Well, we believe that the move was due to the LA Rams' interest in getting once-injured defensive back Duke Shelley restored to the active 53-man Rams roster. If you recall, Shelley was placed on IR at the end of November 2023 with a hamstring injury. It appears that he has healed up enough to get back in action.

Despite seeing action on just 76 defensive snaps, Shelley has been rather effective for the Rams secondary. He has eight tackles, while only allowing six of eleven passes thrown to find their way to his receiver. He has even recorded two pass deflections this season.

The Rams secondary has been vulnerable to some big plays of late, and an addition of another defensive back, particularly one who has been so effective in limited usage as Duke Shelley, can help to avert that trend.

The LA Rams will face the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card Round of the NFL Playoffs. This could be a good one coming up . . .