The talent drain on the Los Angeles Rams’ defense should be a cause of concern for the organization if they’re serious about being competitive during the 2023 season.
Due to a bloated cap sheet, the Rams have made to make some difficult decisions in the offseason. Gone are key veterans from 2022 like Bobby Wagner and Leonard Floyd, but the biggest absence will be Jalen Ramsey whom Los Angeles traded to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for Hunter Long and a 2023 third-round pick.
Raheem Morris has his work cut out for him coordinating a defense that features Aaron Donald and a pack of inexperienced and unproven players. While Donald should be 100 percent healthy after suffering a high ankle sprain that ended his 2022 season, he alone can’t lift what’s looking like a paltry defense at best.
The Rams are even losing some of their under-the-radar players in free agency as Nick Scott is reportedly leaving to join the Cincinnati Bengals according to Adam Schefter of ESPN:
Former Rams safety Nick Scott reached agreement on a three-year, $12 million deal with the Bengals, per source. Scott helped beat them in the Super Bowl and now will try to help the Bengals win their own.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 18, 2023
Scott is a former undrafted free agent who carved a role for himself in Los Angeles the past few seasons. Injuries to starting safeties like Jordan Fuller opened the door for Scott to take on more defensive snaps and he shined in the role. He proved himself to be a quality starting safety at the NFL during the Rams’ playoff run in 2021 where he started all four games.
It felt like L.A. was fully prepared to see Scott depart as they drafted several defensive backs in the 2022 NFL Draft, including Quentin Lake and Russ Yeast who are expected to take on larger roles next season. Aside from Lake and Yeast, Fuller should also return after spending most of the past two seasons injured.
However, aside from Scott, the Rams could be losing another starting safety in Taylor Rapp, who has reportedly visited the New England Patriots and Bengals. Both New England and Cincinnati are in the market for safeties, which means Los Angeles could be looking for more safety help in the coming weeks.
The remodel the front office has been preaching is in full effect, which means fans can probably expect 2023 to be more of a transition year. Hopefully these moves only impact the short term and the Rams get back to being contenders sooner rathern than later.