After giving up 40+ points in three games last season, all losses and 3,298 yards through the air along with 23 TDs, one might think the defensive backfield was sorely lacking on defense. But in hindsight it really was a stout backfield when you consider they had 13 interceptions, held the opposing quarterbacks to a 86.8 passer rating and each pass attempt was held to an average of 7.0 yards.
In looking at the cornerbacks on the Los Angeles Rams’ 2020 training camp roster, familiar faces have returned and some new blood has arrived to see if they can help strengthen and add length to an already promising cornerback room. We will take a look at the CBs and preview what fans may see as training camp arrives in July.
While having no first round pick in this year’s NFL Draft, it’s doubtful that the Rams could find a player in the 20-30-pick range that matched the skills of Ramsey. Signing him to a contract will tell the real story about his place in Rams history and how valuable the 2019 trade was to acquire him, but that’s a whole other story.
Ramsey immediately became a defensive leader after his arrival. His personality, his style of play and the change of scenery made all the difference for Ramsey. Though his stats don’t jump out at you on pass defense, he really likes to tackle getting 33 combo tackles in eight starts for the Rams. In his four years prior to his arrival he averaged 61 tackles per year. He was a Pro Bowler in 2019.
Ramsey will be the anchor this season, his first full one with the team. Being that it is also a contract season for himself, we are sure to see solid production from this fantastic player; a surprise could be awaiting fans as well. We may just see him as a situational safety or OLB as the camp moves forward.
Hill has been one of those players that has had to work hard to position himself on the five-deep depth chart, usually employed by the Rams. After serving his three-game suspension in 2017, head coach Sean McVay named him No. 5 on the depth chart. By last year, despite having to change his number twice for Eric Weddle and Ramsey, he has become a solid fixture of the cornerbacks. He has averaged 39 tackles in his three complete seasons with the team, and had four interceptions over his last two seasons.
Hill, as well, will be working for a new contract after playing through his last two-year deal tendered in the spring of 2019.
DAVID LONG JR.:
Long a former All-American at Michigan, and last year’s 79th overall pick by the Rams is back for his second year, looking for a more permanent role in the defensive scheme.
Long gives the team some flexibility, as he can play inside and out, and has played some in the slot. He is considered a solid cover corner at this point in his career.
Because the Rams traded Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters mid-season, it presented opportunities for players like Williams to show what they too could do. A thumb injury to Hill helped matters for Williams, who replaced Hill in Week 15.
Williams played 175 snaps, including 52 against the Arizona Cardinals the last game of the season. This type of game time experience will be something that Williams can bring forward into camp and build on as he looks for a backup position on the team.
OTHERS IN THE MIX:
Donte Deayon, Adonis Alexander, Dayan Ghanwoloku and Tyrique McGhee are all looking for the last two spots in the cornerback room. Because the Rams did not pick up slot cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman’s 2020 contract it opened the door for some major competition in camp.
We can expect the cornerbacks to be as strong as they were in 2019, maybe a slight fall off on production, but with Ramsey leading, teaching and playing strong on the field, the rest may follow.
In 2020, the Rams are going to have to be able to contain their opponents receivers, disallow pass-after-catch yardage and tackle cleanly in the secondary to keep teams from scoring 40-points or more against them. The Rams will win many more games by doing so.