2016-Present

2017 NFL Draft: Top five safety prospects for the L.A. Rams

The Los Angeles Rams are desperate for help at the safety position. While they have some guys on the roster who may be able to step up, the secondary is fairly thin and must be addressed during the 2017 NFL Draft. The Rams can’t be certain what kind of player they’ll be able to draft without a first round pick. Here are five different players in five different scenarios that should turn out to be great fits for the team:

The Falling Star – Jabrill Peppers, Michigan – Peppers is kind of a long shot to fall to the Rams. He’s one of the most talented players in the entire draft and deserves to go on Day 1. But Peppers is a different kind of prospect than the norm. Peppers played 15 different positions during his stint at Michigan. Despite being listed as a safety, he’s going into the draft as kind of a positionless player, something that could scare off NFL teams enough to take a more traditional player in the first round.

This should not scare off the Rams, especially in the second round. Peppers has the potential to fill a need at safety as well as providing depth elsewhere on the roster. He’s a rare swiss army knife of a prospect and if he falls to late in the first round, the Rams may want to consider trading up to grab him. Wade Phillips could work wonders with a player like Peppers.

The Turnover Machine – Marcus Williams, Utah – The Rams secondary is likely to be outmatched this season and carried by the front seven. They could use a ball-hawking safety that can create turnovers and keep the Rams in ballgames. Enter Marcus Williams, an Academic All-American who nabbed five interceptions and all-conference honors despite not playing a full season in 2016. Williams is big, athletic, versatile, and should be on the board come Day 2. He’d be a perfect fit for the Rams.

The Heavy Hitter – Justin Evans, Texas A&M – One of the hardest hitting safeties in this years draft, Justin Evans is another player that can make an immediate impact for the Rams. He’s an extremely athletic playmaker, who can step up in the slot to guard a receiver or step up to the line of scrimmage to hit somebody. Evans plays full throttle and could give the Rams a spark of energy on defense. He’ll be available on Day 2 and would be a great addition to the team.

The Injury Gamble – Eddie Jackson, Alabama – Jackson was a 2015 All-SEC first team selection before suffering an injury that sidelined him for the majority of the 2016 season. He has plenty of red flags: he’s been accused of benefiting from a loaded secondary in front of him, he hasn’t proven he can be the leader of a secondary, and he had two major injuries during his time at Alabama. But any time you can get an All-SEC caliber player from Alabama, especially at a position of dire need for the Rams, you look closely at the prospect. Jackson isn’t likely to go until the third round of the draft. This is the kind of chance the Rams need to take.

The Day 3 Prize – Rayshawn Jenkins, Miami – Let’s say the Rams don’t add a safety during the first three rounds of the draft and need to take an upside player on Day 3. Miami’s Rayshawn Jenkins would fit that bill. He’s a big, aggressive, hard-hitting safety that at worst should be a solid addition to the special teams. At best, he hones his skills a bit more and becomes a bruising force in the Rams secondary, punishing receivers in the open field. He’s a nice gamble in the later rounds of the draft.

Steve Rebeiro is a staff writer and podcast host for Rams Talk. He graduated from Marquette University in 2016. For more of his opinions, follow him on Twitter here or check out his podcast Tejas and Lil Stevie.

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