The Los Angeles Rams ended up needing an extra presence in the defensive trenches. They went on to add someone who has a past connection to former Rams Pro Bowl quarterback and NFC champion Jared Goff.
Via the league’s transaction wire on Tuesday, September 19, the Rams have signed defensive tackle Cory Durden to the practice squad.
The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Durden was last seen teaming with Goff on the Detroit Lions. He was an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2023 NFL draft but ended up being waived as the Lions finalized their 53-man roster in August.
Cory Durden to Help Fill Interior
The decision to add Durden likely stems from two notable promotions. The Rams ended up elevating Brett Maher and Brett Rypien from the practice squad, which in the process opened up a spot to fill.
Durden, who starred at North Carolina State, was described as a zero-technique nose tackle in an odd front but had the build/skill set for a three-technique for a four-man front.
“Durden was often stuck at a zero-technique nose tackle spot but is more likely to be considered as an even-front three-technique at the next level,” draft expert Lance Zierlein of nfl.com wrote in his evaluation.
Zierlein added how Durden lacked consistent body control because he played too high and resorted to relying on his strength. But still made up for it through instincts.
“His body control and contact balance are often spotty due to his upright playing style, but he finds ways to recover and get himself back in the play,” Zierlein said. “He’s good at locating the football and hustles hard to chase the play down, but Durden lacks the ability to control the point of attack or consistently disrupt NFL blocking schemes.”
With the Rams being more of an odd-man front under third-year defensive coordinator for L.A. Raheem Morris, signs indicate that Durden will aim to carve out a role as an interior defender alongside Aaron Donald and rookie Kobie Turner.
How Did the Rams Perform vs. 49ers Run Offense?
Donald is used to the zone scheming the San Francisco 49ers like to pull on him and the Rams defensive line. But overall, how did this much younger group fare versus the vaunted 49ers’ running attack led by Christian McCaffrey?
Per Pro Football Focus, the Rams collected 22 tackles total on running plays. The run-stuffing leader became third-year inside linebacker Ernest Jones with six stops on running plays.
The leader among the trench defenders ended up being Jonah Williams, who delivered four tackles against the running game. The rookie Turner was the only other defender with more than one stop versus McCaffrey and company.
Donald ended the game with a relatively quiet afternoon — no tackles, no sacks and credited for one quarterback hit. However, the 49ers spent most of their day at SoFi Stadium funneling plays away from the presence of “A.D.”
McCaffrey ended up gaining 116 yards on 20 carries and scored once versus the Rams. Deebo Samuel became the only other backfield option as he finished with five carries for 38 yards and a score. Even quarterback Brock Purdy took off and ran — and finished with three carries for five yards and a QB sneak touchdown.
The Rams’ pass defense helped keep the game close. Not one 49ers receiver, including Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk (who left the game with a shoulder issue) surpassed 63 receiving yards individually. And the Rams didn’t give up a completion of more than 35 yards.