It’s not a stretch at all to say that the Rams had one of, if not thee, best secondaries in the NFL in 2020. Jalen Ramsey lead a group of young, talented corners, making his contract extension worth every penny.
The Rams also showed that they are rich in safeties with John Johnson proving once again that he’s an elite safety when healthy. While there were a little uncertainties in terms of positioning, the secondary was undoubtedly a non-issue coming into the 2020 season.
Jalen Ramsey: Grade A+
44 tackles, one interception and nine pass deflections.
When you think of the Rams in 2020, the player that immediately that comes to mind is Aaron Donald. But the close second is Ramsey. He’s such a fun player to watch and just absolutely challenges offenses. Even Pro Football Focus tends to have a hard time grading him since teams will sometimes refuse to throw in his direction.
If you don’t believe me, check out some of his stats against some the NFL’s elite receivers:
Week 1 vs Dallas Cowboys’ Amari Cooper: Seven receptions, 57 yards and no touchdowns.
Week 3 vs Buffalo Bills’ Stefon Diggs: One reception, four yards and one touchdown.
Week 5 vs Washington Football Team’s Terry McLaurin: Zero receptions.
Week 7 vs Chicago Bears’ Allen Robinson: One reception, 42 yards and no touchdowns.
Week 10 and 16 (Combined) Seattle Seahawks’ D.K. Metcalf: One reception, 11 yards and no touchdowns.
Week 11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Mike Evans: Four receptions, 40 yards and no touchdowns.
Week 13 and 17 (Combined) Arizona Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins: Five receptions, 48 yards and no touchdowns.
Yea, enough said.
Darious Williams: Grade A
44 tackles, four interceptions and 14 pass deflections.
The most improved player definitely goes to Williams. Remember how I mentioned that teams refused to throw the ball Ramsey’s direction? Williams was often challenged because of that and that tended to end badly for the opposition. Williams’s impact allowed the Rams to place Troy Hill as a nickle corner and many different roles. Easily one of the most underrated players in the NFL.
Troy Hill: Grade A-
77 tackles, three interceptions, 10 pass deflections, two fumble recoveries and three defensive touchdowns.
One of the Rams’ most hyped up players entering the 2020 season was Hill. It was for a good reason, though he didn’t begin the season on the highest of notes. That’s understandable since he was somewhat playing out position. He quickly overcame that though and ended the season on such a high note. Hill is a playmaker and it’s one of the reasons why he will be gone in 2021. He is set for free agency and there is absolutely no way that the Rams can afford to keep him. In short, Hill is going to get paid.
John Johnson: Grade A+
105 tackles, one interception and eight pass deflections.
For a safety to be a team leader in tackles is kind of rare. Johnson is a sound tackler and is an all-around great safety. Literally, one of Johnson’s only flaws since joining the Rams is health. He was healthy in 2020 and proved to be a vital player on defense. This is why many would love to keep Johnson despite the Rams being in financial ruins. The Rams may have a surplus of talent at the safety position, but none are as good as he is.
Jordan Fuller: Grade A+
60 tackles, three interceptions and five pass deflections.
Disclaimer, this grade doesn’t mean Fuller is as good as Johnson. This grade reflects expectation and performance. Nobody saw Fuller becoming the starter and becoming a solid starter. While not perfect, he did a great job for a sixth round rookie. Fuller essentially took Taylor Rapp’s job before he went out with a season-ending injury. Rookie Terrell Burgess is another talented rookie, but also suffered a similar fate to Rapp.
It’s undeniable though that Fuller may have been the steal of the 2020 NFL Draft. If he continues to improve, the Rams may have another elite safety on their hands.