Rams News: Sean McVay Believes Ernest Jones Is ‘Checking The Boxes’
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams selected linebacker Ernest Jones with their third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, they had no plans for him to play a major role with the team in his first season.

In fact, he was on the special teams unit entirely for four of the team’s first seven games, playing in under 40% of defensive snaps in the other three.

However, starting in Week 8, they made a change. With the acquisition of Von Miller — and the trade of Kenny Young — Jones became more of a necessity. Since those two transactions took place, Jones has played in at least 62% of snaps in every game.

But his breakout performance came in Week 14 against the Arizona Cardinals. In the biggest win of the Rams season, Jones was second on the team in tackles and had an interception off of Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray.

Rams head coach Sean McVay spoke about Jones has brought to the team since becoming a regular part of the game plan in Week 8.

“He’s a stud. He’s really just continuing to gain confidence,” McVay said of Jones. “You see the versatility. You see the ability to do a lot of different things. He’s playing in all of our personnel groupings now, so he’s really never leaving the field.

“He’s showing why he was a guy that we liked so much coming out of South Carolina. He’s got great leadership, great range, he can blitz, he can cover, he’s got great ball skills. He’s checking the boxes in a lot of ways, and he’s got just a great play demeanor that you love being around Ernest Jones.”

Part of the reason the Rams have been so willing to trade away their top draft picks in exchange for superstar talent is the faith they have in their scouting department to hit on the late-round picks. Jones being taken in the third round and being an impact player right off the bat is a great example.

Linebacker is still considered a weakness for the Rams, but Jones has lessened the heat on that position group with his play over the past few weeks. They’ll need him to continue stepping up as they fight for an NFC West division win.

McVay praises Rams for win over Cardinals

McVay had plenty to say after the Rams’ biggest win of the season on Monday night. “Unbelievable job by our team,” McVay said. “So many guys stepped up. There was a lot of whether you want to call it adversity or late changes that we had to make, but can’t say enough about the leadership of this group.”

With the win, the Rams closed in on the Cardinals and are now just one game back of the division lead with four games left in the season.