3 Surprise Rams to Watch, Including One Showing ‘Real Development’


Getty Members of the 2022 Rams secondary

Jalen Ramsey has been a part of some deep secondaries. But he admits he’s never seen this before.

The Los Angeles Rams All-Pro has walked into Crawford Field at UC Irvine and with one look up and down the 2022 secondary, he realizes he’s surrounded by talent…the kind that got him admitting to J.B. Long and the Inside the Rams crew on Sunday, July 31 that there are Rams who are “way ahead of where I was” when he entered the league as a top five pick in 2016.

And these are guys yet to play their first NFL snap.

“The rookies are ballers, honestly. They’ve been doing their thing. This is probably one of the deepest secondaries I’ve been a part of as far as depth wise — like the amount of people who can actually play on Sundays for us,” Ramsey told the broadcast crew after Sunday’s practice.

Judging by Ramsey’s words, there are Rams who are ready to breakout. Plus judging by the words of one insider who said there’s a Ram who is “starting to show some real development,” there’s another Ram who could be due to surprise. And with what Heavy on Rams witnessed in our camp visit, it’s time to unveil three surprise Rams to watch moving forward:

Robert Rochell

Heavy was there when Rochell snatched the lone interception during the Rams’ “Back Together Saturday” practice.

But per The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, “Scoota” wasn’t done: Snatching a sideline pass intended for Tutu Atwell and matched step for step with the speedy second-year wideout who runs a 4.3.

“Gotta keep an eye on Rochell, he’s starting to show some real development as camp has unfolded,” Rodrigue tweeted.

But he wasn’t done, according to Rodrigue.

“Just made a play on a stretched fade in last snap of red zone – have a day, Robert Rochell,” Rodrigue posted.

If his impressive camp continues, you could be looking at the permanent No. 2 CB next to Ramsey. But there’s another in the running.

Derion Kendrick

Kendrick — all 6-foot, 190-pounds of the rookie — stood up to Tyler Higbee, who has a six inch, 65-pound advantage on him.

The newcomer from national champion Georgia still refused to let size win, breaking up the would-be sideline grab that drew roars of cheers from the Rams defense. And two days prior, he stood up to another newcomer, but a more established veteran and Pro Bowler Allen Robinson.

Not bad for someone once described in a draft evaluation as a CB who “has played against some of the best wideouts in the game but has a history of struggling in some of those matchups.” Kendrick has provided a Bulldog-scrapper side at Irvine.

Decobie Durant

Durant easily won me over on Friday. It’s not just because of his ball-hawking skills, either.

It’s who he’s challenged during practices: Robinson and the reigning Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Cooper Kupp.

He even stepped in front of Kupp and out-stretched himself for one of those picks. And that was with Matthew Stafford targeting him too. He’s even playing the “star” position: Best known as the spot that calls for the most versatility from the DB group, and a spot Ramsey plays so skillfully.

Durant made plays so big, you forget the fact he’s one of the smallest CBs on the Rams roster at 180-pounds.

Ramsey: ‘They’re Way Ahead of Where I Was’

Ramsey is not one to shy away from honesty. But that includes being honest with himself.

And he’s been impressed with “Cobie” and “D.K.” to the point he believes they’re way ahead of the development curve.

“They’ve been balling and they’ve been making a lot of plays this camp and making plays against a lot of talented guys…against the Cooper Kupps, the ‘A-Rob’s’ [Allen Robinson] and the Stafford’s [Matthew Stafford],” Ramsey told Inside the Rams.

How advanced are two of the three chosen here? Ramsey said the rookies have done more in training camp than what he did in his Jacksonville Jaguar days.

“So to see these rookies go and compete with them and have the confidence to compete with them, that’s like a huge step,” Ramsey continued. “And then on top of that, they’re so smart. Honestly, they’re way ahead of where I was when I was a rookie as far as the knowledge on the game and picking up the playbook. They’ve been impressive so far.”

The combination of those two and the 2021 draft pick Rochell gives the “Rams House” a trio to watch closely the rest of this camp.

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