The Los Angeles Rams have struggled to maintain valuable pieces in the secondary over the last few seasons. The departure of Janoris Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, and T.J. McDonald have forced the team to continue their search for the next man up.
Fortunately, they may have to look no further than fourth-year safety Maurice Alexander. Pro Football Focus recently named Alexander as the team’s secret superstar for the upcoming 2017-18 NFL season:
Alexander saw 434 snaps in 2015 for the Rams, but this past season he started all year, replacing the departed Rodney McLeod. His coverage was the biggest leap in performance, and he notched two interceptions while allowing no scores when in primary coverage from his safety spot. Alexander only really had one poor game all season, a week 12 outing against the Saints in which he missed three tackles.
Pro Football Focus also points out that Alexander managed to improve his safety grade from 44.6 (2015) to 83.4 (2016). It will be interesting to see how much he continues to improve under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who spent the last two seasons coaching up one of the league’s best secondaries with the Denver Broncos.
The report is a positive sign for the Rams who have dealt with secondary issues for some time now. Those issues are even more relevant now with the uncertain future surrounding the team’s top cornerback in Trumaine Johnson, who will likely be hit with the franchise tag for a consecutive year. The Rams will need to eventually spend big on a defensive back in order to avoid any more secondary woes.