When you find your diamond in the rough you keep him. The Rams found that in Trumaine Johnson a Cornerback out of Montana, even though he was a third-round pick in 2012 he still wasn’t a household name like ex-Ram Janoris Jenkins. The Rams have extended DT Michael Brockers and WR Tavon Austin so they need to next look at extending their number one Cornerback.
Johnson is already one of the best Cornerbacks in the game and if Monday Night Football didn’t show you how badly the Rams need him nothing will. Coty Sensabaugh who started alongside Johnson was horrendous allowing Jets reject WR Jeremy Kerley to dominate him all game long. Johnson however held his man Torrey Smith to two catches for only 13 yards. It’s not to say Smith is an elite WR but he has the tendency to at least break a big play with his flat out long speed that Johnson otherwise wouldn’t be able to keep up. Why did Johnson do so well then? Well, Johnson has developed into a very technically sound Cornerback. He had seven interceptions last year in what was his breakout year but the thing that intrigues me most about him is how he has improved his craft off the line.
Johnson has sneaky quickness and the ability to stop in his tracks and then explode out of his stance and jump a route. The thing that makes Johnson so scary is his size. Nothing like a man that can move that quick and play that physical but can also high point passes like he’s a Wide receiver. Johnson was the guy the Rams kept over the guy who was picked a round ahead of him in Jenkins. Some say Johnson is a two that plays off of someone else but, can you really even justify that? In all accounts I always felt like Johnson had the most upside and he had the most talent out of him and Jenkins. Jenkins was the big play game-breaking guy who would make a play and then take it back for a touchdown. That was…until Johnson started becoming that guy and pushed Jenkins to the back and out of that spotlight.
There is no doubt in my mind the Rams made the right choice franchise tagging Johnson over Jenkins and that’s great but, the Rams absolutely can not let Johnson walk in free agency after this year. There are some quality Cornerbacks in the draft, Jalen Tabor from Florida and Marlon Humphrey from Alabama to name a couple. However, the Rams don’t have a first-round pick to draft a Cornerback to replace Johnson if he indeed walks. Johnson is a rising star and in my eyes might already be the best Cornerback in the division besides Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks.
With a player like E.J. Gaines that is supposed to start across from Johnson constantly injured. It just makes an extension of Johnson that much more likely. Sensabaugh was signed to an outrageous amount of money in the offseason for the lack of production he has given over his career. The Rams don’t want to give up on second-round pick LaMarcus Joyner so he will remain their nickel corner. Now the issue would remain if Johnson left are the Rams seriously okay with starting Sensabaugh who has shown he has no place as a starter in the NFL and Gaines who has shown he can’t seem to stay healthy. The Rams absolutely need to bring back Johnson or they would be taking two steps back and on a team that would appear to be inching closer to being a playoff team every year, this could push them back to square one.