Jalen Ramsey is officially at work with the Miami Dolphins, posting his first message to his newest fan base on Wednesday, March 15.
His former team the Los Angeles Rams will now start to get to work on a replacement.
It won’t be easy replacing a cornerback who went to the Pro Bowler in all three full regular seasons he was with the Rams — as Ramsey was lauded for his leadership and coverage ability. But now, it’s time to look into potential replacements in this series called Replacing Jalen Ramsey.
Darius Slay was briefly called an idea for the Rams by fans, especially after posting he may leaving the Philadelphia Eagles. But he has since pivoted back to the NFC champs as of Thursday, March 16. Now, the Rams also can pivot to the NFL Draft to find their shutdown CB of the future. And the first name called a fit for the Rams post Ramsey? D.J. Turner II of Michigan, the same Turner who blazed the 40-yard dash in 4.26 seconds (official time) at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine and is climbing draft boards in the process.
Turner was Called First Rams Option Before Ramsey Trade
Back on March 8, Jaime Eisner of The Draft Network labeled the Wolverines cornerback as a strong possibility to fill for the six-time Pro Bowler.
“The Rams appear poised to move on from Jalen Ramsey, so they need to add to the CB room to replace him. DJ Turner had the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and was already a rising CB prospect before the buzz in Indianapolis,” Eisner wrote.
Now, with a CB vacancy, the chances of the Rams taking a CB at No. 36 has never looked higher than ever.
Possessing elite speed is one thing. But Turner jumped to 38’5″ in the vertical — and he leaped to that mark standing at 5-foot-11, 178-pounds. That will persuade teams to turn to him if they need a swat artist in the red zone or someone denying the deep ball.
But before Indianapolis, Turner was putting on a show with his speed and his hip fluidity while in Ann Arbor:
And along with finding a CB, the Rams will need someone to man the “star” role on the defense — reserved for someone who can line up at a multitude of spots in the secondary including safety or nickel. On the first play of this 2022 reel, Turner is seen lining up in a similar “star” role which ends with scoop and score:
The same reel additionally shines a light on Turner’s ability to squeeze a route and lower the boom with his shoulder.
How Can he Fit Inside the ‘Rams House?’
Turner is obviously lighter compared to Ramsey. And if he were to become a Ram, he wouldn’t be considered the tallest option in the DB room. But, his flair for dynamics on the field is capable of winning over his first NFL team.
“Explosive athlete combining fluidity, speed and superior technique to excel at his craft” was the first sentence written by nfl.com draft expert Lance Zierlein in his evaluation of Turner.
But one area Ramsey was highly skilled at was his ability to take on longer and more physical wideouts. Unfortunately, Turner doesn’t possess the size or physical strength to match up with those wideouts right away. There were even moments where he had to resort to a grab-and-drag tackle when defeated by a larger wideout.
Yet, with Robert Rochell having a near similar frame to Ramsey, this could be the season he gets increased action and earn Ramsey’s role in a pivotal year for the 2021 draft find. That would give the Rams the luxury of plugging Turner at the slot CB spot (Troy Hill is an unrestricted free agent there) or be involved in a battle for one of the perimeter CB spots.
Regardless, Turner’s name is fast rising on mock drafts…and would be intriguing going from “Go Blue” to the Rams’ royal blue.