PFF agrees that it's time that the NFL gave this Rams standout some respect

The LA Rams are writing a new chapter on defense, and new DC Chris Shula is putting all of his chips on this player to excel in 2024.
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

News articles and headlines about the LA Rams have been dominated by the likes of DT Aaron Donald, QB Matthew Stafford, and WR Cooper Kupp since the trio combined to lead the Rams to Super Bowl LVI and claim the first Lombardi Trophy for the city of Los Angeles, California by the Rams football organization. But with the retirement of Aaron Donald, the headlines will need new player to feature from this defense.

Pro Football Focus misses the mark sometimes. And that's how it goes in the offseason with projections, speculations, and power rankings warming up the NFL fans until the headliner act finally arrives, a new NFL season. But they occasionally get it right. In a recent article, they touted veteran inside linebacker Ernest Jones as the most underrated player on the Rams roster.

I am happy to say that in this case, they got it right.

Ernest Jones vs. Cory Littleton

The NFL career of LA Rams veteran ILB Ernest Jones bears some similarities to that of former Rams Pro Bowl ILB Cory Littleton and yet bears stark differences in others. Let's compare the two playmakers who have excelled in the heart of this Rams defense under HC Sean McVay


Cory Littleton

Ernest Jones





225 pounds

230 pounds


79.875 inches

80.125 inches

Yr 3 tackles



Yr 3 sacks



Yr 3 interceptions



Yr 3 TFLs



Yr 3 PDs



As you can see, Littleton was the better of the two in pass coverage and pass defense. He leveraged his incredible wingspan of nearly 80 inches to thwart attempts by quarterbacks to find receivers out of the backfield or on crossing routes. Curiously, it's Jones who has the longer reach, as his wingspan is a full 1/4 inch longer than that of Littleton.

Jones plays old-school fundamental inside linebacker. He is the throwback to Jim Youngblood, London Fletcher, and Jack Reynolds. His main mission is not to deflect a pass but to punish anyone and everyone with the football. So far, his progress has shown marked improvement from the previous season. If that trend continues, he is ripe for an All-Pro type of season in 2024. Still, he continues to run under the radar of most NFL analysts.

Even if you do not have complete confidence in Ernest Jones this year, you cannot refute the experience he has gained by playing alongside some of the best defensive players of the modern NFL era. Not only was he the teammate of All-Pro DT Aaron Donald, but he lined up alongside All-Pro ILB Bobby Wagner. He played in the same defense as All-Pro DB Jalen Ramsey, and watched All-Pro outside linebacker Von Miller rejuvenate his career in The Horns.

Ernest Jones is not some ham-and-egger on this defense. He is the undisputed leader for the new chapter, the herald of DC Chris Shula, and the driving force behind one of the most accomplished group of young men on the defensive sides of the football.

This is his year. I recommend that you don't miss it.

Thanks for reading.