NFL analyst disrespects Rams defensive trio as bottom feeders for 2024

Despite a very promising rookie campaign, Sports Illustrated writer Gilberto Manzano projects Rams defensive trio out of NFL's Top 20.
Los Angeles Rams Kobie Turner, Ernest Jones, Byron Young
Los Angeles Rams Kobie Turner, Ernest Jones, Byron Young / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
1 of 4

If you had the chance to sit down and identify the LA Rams top three players on defense ahead of the 2024 NFL season, could you do it? Perhaps, and perhaps not. But if you had to take the team's top trio on the defensive side of the football, and compare them against the other 31 NFL team's top defensive trios, that would prove to be a bit more difficult, wouldn't it?

Even those of use who are more intimately aware of the Rams roster might struggle to identify the top three players for the upcoming season. But then a grossly inappropriate comparison of apples to oranges against other NFL defenses would be incredibly challenging.

So what chance does a Sports Illustrated writer who is only casually aware of the team's roster, and not even able to get a good grasp of the team's defensive structure, have of getting it right? Based on the results of Sports Illustrated Gilberto Manzano's recent article ranking top defensive trios, those chances are not good at all.

Of course, there is a shroud of uncertainty over the Rams defense this season. Not only does the team face the retirement of All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, but the entire defense has been recast once again. By all intents and purposes, the secondary has been reconfigured for the 2024 NFL season with at least four new starters. And the 11-player defensive group is almost certainly about to rely on seven new starters this season.

The only players returning from last year's defense who are most likely to start in 2024 include: NT Kobie Turner (albeit sliding over to cover Aaron Donald's role at DT), NT Bobby Brown, OLB Byron Young, and ILB Ernest Jones. That is not a lot of continuity for a defense that was middle of the road in 2023. With so many changes, will this defense be any better in 2024? Before we answer that, let's pivot to Gilberto Manzano's article, and dig into where he may have missed the mark: