This LA Rams most impactful rookie plays on the defensive side of the ball.
The Los Angeles Rams added 14 rookies during the 2023 NFL Draft. The majority of those rookies were selected on Day 3 of the draft, 11 to be exact. Once again, the Rams didn't have a first-round pick and were content to make three selections on Day 2 of the draft. At this point, I'm convinced that LA Rams GM Les Snead doesn't like to pick on Day 1.
So was it a successful draft? Who was the best rookie addition? With everything that went on last year on the defensive side, rookie cornerback Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, a.k.a. Tre Tomlinson, a sixth-round draft pick (182nd overall), could be the most impactful rookie addition to the LA Rams roster this season.
During the 2022 NFL season, the LA Rams had a down year. It was historically newsworthy for the NFL when it comes to a defending Super Bowl champion. Unfortunately, it was not the way you would want it to be as a fan. 12 losses were the most for any defending champ in NFL history. The defense that had harassed quarterbacks and smothered wide receivers was battered by injuries.
The Rams' defense will be much different than that of last year, but this could be among the top defenses in the league this season thanks in part to the former Jim Thorpe award winner Tomlinson. The Jim Thorpe Award is awarded annually to the top college defensive back in the nation.
From legacy to NFL
Hodges-Tomlinson is the nephew of Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Tre Tomlinson sketched his own legacy different from the status of his legendary uncle. Hodges-Tomlinson had 16 pass breakups and 3 interceptions this past season for the TCU Horned Frogs (His uncle's alma mater as well) en route to a championship game appearance. There are noticeable similarities between Hodges-Tomlinson and former Rams All-Pro Jalen Ramsey. Both can play man, excel in the zone, and play the run game well. Ramsey has more height but Hodges-Tomlinson makes up for it with his ferocity and grit, often hitting harder than you would expect.
If there's an area of improvement for Tomlinson, it would be his aggressive ball-playing skills. There are times were he made plays that we are penalized in the NFL. He can tend to prematurely grab the opposing receiver to gain leverage. If he can get contact within the first five yards, the receiver will be out of position due to Hodges' physical dominance.
With so many new faces, nobody knows for certain what to expect from the LA Rams defense in 2023. There are many questions that need to be answered along the way. Still, if Aaron Donald is healthy, there is every reason to expect him to dominate the NFL once more. The Rams won Super Bowl LVI thanks to strong contributions from their pass rush and secondary. With Donald getting after opposing quarterbacks, Tre Tomlinson can use his aggressive style of play to his advantage, perhaps he could even be honored with the NFL Defensive Rookie of The Year.