Rams Should Watch a Capable CB2 for Jalen Ramsey in 2022, Analyst Says

Jalen Ramsey

Getty Jalen Ramsey during Rams minicamp on June 7, 2022.

There are 18 employees on the Los Angeles Rams who hold “scouting strategy,” “scouting assistant” or “area scout” in their job title.

As the Super Bowl 56 champions head back to UC Irvine on July 23 to return to work for the upcoming 2022 season, college football programs will be starting up their fall camps in the week or two after. And that’s when the Rams‘ scouting department will also be at work and likely on the road.

Yes, for most fans this is the time of year where thinking about the next draft is dubbed “way too early.” But for NFL scouts, their work often begins when colleges start back up — as they are sometimes seen on campus getting an early scouting look at prospects.

And already, Pro Football Focus analyst Michael Renner has released a list of every prospect teams should watch be watching for the collegiate season. The one prospect Renner plugged for the Rams holds this distinction: He starred in a high school near the Rams at La Habra High in Northwest Orange County.

‘Competent CB2’ Opposite of Jalen Ramsey is the Prospect to Watch

Renner is thinking cornerback as the position the Rams will have high on their board, plus the area on the field to scout first throughout the duration of the CFB season. This is all in the name of finding a potential true and complimentary cornerback opposite of All-Pro Jalen Ramsey.

And Renner’s top prospect to watch for the champs? Pac-12 star cornerback Clark Phillips III out of Utah.

Renner believes that Phillips III can be worth a mid-round find for the Rams, due to the fact that he’s considered shorter than most heralded cornerbacks. However, Phillips III has been lauded for his ability to blanket wide receivers in a Power 5 setting and emerged as the top cover cornerback for the Pac-12 champion Utes.

“Without a first-round pick yet again, the Rams won’t have the pick to try and find a competent CB2 across from Jalen Ramsey. That may mean they take advantage of the size cutoffs that others have at the corner position to get a much more talented player,” Renner said. “At only 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, Phillips will be off some teams’ boards entirely because of his size. On the field, though, he still earned a 76.4 coverage grade (by PFF) as a true sophomore last season.”

Phillips III Has Been Decorated Since High School

Should the Rams do indeed plaster the Ute corner’s name high on their prospect list, they’ll be keeping an eye on a player who has collected a litany of accolades dating back to his time at La Habra.

Phillips III was the top rated cornerback prospect in his state and the No. 6 overall prospect for the state of California’s 2020 class by 247Sports — a class that included potential 2023 first round quarterbacks in Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and the top prospect for that class in Alabama’s Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young.

Phillips III emerged as a four-star prospect who found his way to Utah after originally planning to be teammates with Stroud for the Buckeyes. National recruiting analyst for 247 Greg Biggins wrote in his evaluation that the CB “plays with a bulldog mentality. Doesn’t have great length but makes up for it with a physical style of play and advanced technique,” also comparing him to two-time Pro Bowler Casey Heyward.

Since then, Phillips III has emerged as a All-Conference second team selection. He went on to lead the Pac-12 in passes defended (13 pass breakups and two interceptions). Athlon Sports has projected him to land on the Pac-12 first team in their magazine preview issue. PFF and Renner has him as the No. 8 top CB for the 2023 class. Plays like the ones shown below point to why the Utes star will be NFL material:

He’s also a pick-six master when facing Washington State — having taken two interceptions back for touchdowns in the 2020 and ’21 meetings.

Should the Rams do indeed keep a close eye on him, he could become a taller and more physical version of Darious Williams. PFF already believes Phillips III would be perfect for the “Rams House.” We shouldn’t be surprised if Rams scouts do get a seat inside the press box of Rice-Eccles Stadium to watch him closely.

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