LA Rams wisely bring back free agent DT Marquise Copeland
By Bret Stuter
There are two ways to analyze the LA Rams free agency activity, as sparse as it may seem to be. You can either judge the Rams front office over the players that have not been signed, most likely due to the lack of discretionary spending cash. Or, you can judge the team by what they have done in terms of value-added impact players to the Rams roster, by meting out their free agency signings.
Call me a glass-half-full kind of guy, but the return of defensive lineman Marquise Copeland is a far bigger deal than many may judge it to be. Copeland was signed to the LA Rams roster after the 2019 NFL Draft from the University of Cincinnati and is a perfect example of just how well a player can compete in the NFL after being coached up by Defensive Line Coach Eric Henderson. Now, we know that he will be back for his fourth NFL season in horns.
Copeland is the gritty hardworking type of defensive lineman who helps to make the entire Rams defense gel. He has continuously improved from a 2019 practice squad player to someone who competed in 15 games for the Rams in 2022 and started nine of those games. In just 342 defensive snaps, Copeland recorded 31 tackles, two tackles for a loss, two quarterback hits, and even recorded the first quarterback sack of his NFL career.
Copeland keeps on competing
Copeland is crucial for the LA Rams this season. Not only is he a valued contributor, but he is also one of the few defensive players now under contract for the 2023 NFL season who has experience starting for the LA Rams. Beyond that, he has shown significant growth and development with each passing year and is in a great position and opportunity to shine for the Rams this season.
While some create a shopping list for the Rams roster that includes almost exclusively All-Pro and Pro-Bowl veterans, I'm quite pleased with the LA Rams for making it a point to free up some salary cap to enable to bring back a solid contributor like Marquise Copeland.
Not every player on the Rams defense must lead the NFL in tackles, sacks, or interceptions. Some of the best work happens in the trenches. That is where we will find Copeland once more, in the trenches, doing his thing.