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
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Two out of three ain't bad, it's horribly misleading

Where I think the primary hiccup occurs in Gilberto Manzano's approach to ranking the top trio from this LA Rams defense is the fact that he misses the mark completely. I would nominate three of players from this group of four as the top trio for this team: NT Kobie Turner, ILB Ernest Jones, OLB Byron Young, DB Darious Williams.

Of that group, you have two rookies who are entering their second seasons, both of whom led all 2023 rookies in quarterback sacks. You have an inside linebacker who was one of the NFL's top tacklers from one year ago. And in Darious Williams, you have a ball-hawking defensive back who is both well-respected and considered one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL.

Instead, Manzano names Kobie Turner, Ernest Jones, and returning from injury Tre'Davious White. Here is what he writes about this trio:

"After a breakout rookie season, Turner will have the daunting task of replacing Aaron Donald as the team’s top defensive lineman. Turner, a 2023 third-round pick, recorded nine sacks last season. Jones was a consistent sideline-to-sideline playmaker during his first season as the team’s starting middle linebacker. If White stays healthy, the Rams could have a productive defense despite Donald’s retirement"

SI's Gilberto Manzano

All I see in that write-up is negativity. For example, he cites Kobie Turner as solely responsible for taking over the role of Aaron Donald, but completely ignoring the fact that Turner's rookie numbers were quite comparable to The Great One's production in 2023. He fails to discuss just how devastatingly productive Ernest Jones was for this team, despite playing in just 15 of 17 games.