The Los Angeles Rams defense is going to have a completely new look heading into the 2023 season after the organization was forced to cut several of its veteran leaders in the offseason.
Not only did the Rams cut Bobby Wagner and Leonard Floyd, they also traded Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins in a blockbuster deal. Aside from the big-name players, Los Angeles also allowed rotational players like Taylor Rapp, Nick Scott and Greg Gaines walk in free agency. Devoid of stars and depth, the Rams are banking on the 2023 NFL Draft to restock the cupboard with young talent on cheap contracts.
However, Los Angeles did manage to retain some of their free agents like Marquise Copeland. Copeland re-signed with the Rams on a one-year deal with the team last month and admitted that it’s uncharted territory for him being one of the few retainees from last season via Stu Jackson of the Rams.com:
“I mean, it’s definitely different,” Copeland said. “I was just thinking about that the other day, coming in as an undrafted free agent, I was in the back of the line. Now, I’m one of the ones in the front of the line.”
Despite the unfamiliar feeling, Copeland said that he’s happy to be back in L.A. with his teammates and the coaching staff:
“It’s just great to be here,” Copeland said Monday as the Rams began their offseason program. “It’s great to be around the guys again, great to be around my coach again.”
Keeping Copeland gives the Rams at least a little continuity up front next to Aaron Donald. With Gaines gone and A’Shawn Robinson still a free agent, Copeland is in line for a much larger role next season.
Due to injuries, the former undrafted free agent was able to take advantage of his opportunities and post career-highs across the board. Copeland recorded 31 total tackles in 15 games, starting nine of them. As for his role, Copeland figures to step into the same spot Gaines and Robinson occupied though he does carry some versatility that Raheem Morris can play around with.
Ernest Jones says young defensive unit is hungry
A younger defensive unit likely means the Rams will struggle to get stops, but that hasn’t stopped Ernest Jones from remaining confident in his and his teammates’ abilities. In fact, Jones is looking at next season as an opportunity for the young players because they’re all hungry to prove themselves at the NFL level.