As the Los Angeles Rams prepare for a hopeful improvement from last season, the young squad enters the 2016 NFL season with higher expectations than normal.
Aside from the move to Los Angeles, the Rams have captured the attention of the league with their bevy of talented, young players. In fact, ESPN’s Bill Barnwall has the Rams defensive trio of cornerback Trumaine Johnson, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and defensive end Robert Quinn ranked No. 9 in the league:
“It still seems impossible that Donald slipped to the 13th pick in the 2014 draft; the only players who can really touch him as the best player from that class so far are Khalil MAck and Odell Beckham Jr., and Donald might somehow be the most spectacular of those three. Teams do occasionally take advantage of his ability to penetrate on the interior and have success running up the middle against the Rams, but that’s like criticizing your Ferrari for being a bear to park. The Rams have to hope that Quinn is fully recovered from back surgery, but at his best, he’s about as unblockable as Donald. There’s a bit of a gam between the Rams’ two stud pass-rushers and the restof their defensive starters, but Johnson finally took hold as an above-average cornerback last season, and the likes of Mark Barron and Alec Ogletree form a solid second tier.”
The news should come as a bit of relief for Rams fans after their offensive trio was ranked No. 28 out of 32 teams. However, it is no secret that the defense is currently way ahead of the offense. Donald has developed into arguably the best defensive player in the league while that title belonged to Robert Quinn just two years ago. Regardless, the Rams possess as solid as an interior defense as any.
However, with the departure of several key players in the secondary, the Rams are hoping E.J. Gaines can fill in opposite of Johnson as a primary corner. Gaines missed all of last season with a foot injury and now seems poised to take back his spot.
Los Angeles made some big decisions this offseason with the hope to take their defense to the next level. Now that they are being noticed as a top-tier defense, the Rams will not be flying under the radar for much longer.