When looking at the Los Angeles Rams roster heading into training camp, one can’t help but notice how young and inexperienced it is.
Outside of their veteran pillars Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald, the Rams project to be one of the youngest teams in the NFL. Sean McVay and Les Snead have been open about their remodeling strategy after going all-in on proven players the past few seasons, and this upcoming year marks the first step toward establishing their new foundation.
One particular area of intrigue is the secondary as the Rams will be without Jalen Ramsey and Troy Hill after the former was traded to the Miami Dolphins and the latter remains a free agent. In their stead are up-and-coming talents in Cobie Durant, Derion Kendrick, Robert Rochell and Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson. All four defensive backs project to play the majority of snaps, though Los Angeles will spend the summer evaluating each of them.
However, it seems the Rams wanted to bring in more competition and experience as they’ve agreed to terms with free agent cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, via NFL Insider Jordan Schultz:
Free agent CB Ahkello Witherspoon is signing with the #Rams, per source.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) June 29, 2023
Witherspoon has six years of experience at the league level, splitting his time between the San Francisco 49ers, who selected him in the third-round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, he has struggled to stay healthy during his career as he has yet to play more than 14 games in a season.
While the injury concerns are real, Witherspoon is the exact kind of low-risk signing Los Angeles needs given the state of their secondary. His size makes him an intriguing addition given that Durant, Kendrick and Hodges-Tomlinson are smaller in stature.
Witherspoon may not be a lock to make the 53-man roster, but his signing does indicate that the Rams are focused on shoring up that position. It will be interesting to see how the move pans out and if the veteran is on the team Week 1.
Aaron Donald expects young defensive players to step up as leaders
Not only did the defense’s talent level take a hit, so did the leadership in the locker room. Bobby Wagner and Ramsey were respected voices on the team, but with them gone Aaron Donald expects the younger defensive players to step up.