The Los Angeles Rams bring a talented and deep group of safeties into training camp. With Eric Weddle, John Johnson, and Taylor Rapp the Rams have a sold group. Add in Marqui Christian on the back end of that, a depth player who will be going into his fourth year on the team, and this is a deep group.
As mentioned, Christian will be going into his fourth year on the team. He’s mostly been a rotational player and special teams contributor, but he is someone that the Rams have liked having. Christian is next in our roster preview series.
2018 was a career-year for Christian. He played in all 16 games for the Los Angeles Rams, making a career-high 36 tackles. Christian was mainly a contributor on special teams last season, taking 418 snaps on kick and punt return coverage according to Pro Football Focus. However, he also played in 352 snaps on defense which was the most in his career.
Unfortunately for Christian, with the signin of Eric Weddle and selection of Taylor Rapp, he’ll remain the fourth guy on the depth chart at safety. However, the Rams also drafted Nick Scott in the seventh round who was a special teams ace at Penn State. Christian has three years of experience, meaning he’ll have the upper-hand, but Scott isn’t going to go down without a fight. As has been the case in his first three years, Christian will have to earn his spot on the final-53.
Three Plays On Tape
— J.B. Long (@JB_Long) August 24, 2018
This is one reason the Rams like Christian. He can play all over the field. He can play deep at safety, but come down into the box if needed as well as play at cornerback. This play comes from the preseason, but Christian lines up at linebacker and shows his versatility coming in on the blitz.
This is all Cory Littleton on the blocked punt, but this also shows Christian’s value on special teams. This can be seen as a “right place, right time” play, but Christian has the awareness to realize that the punt has been blocked and to not just catch it in the air, but return it for a short gain.
Christian has a lot of value on special teams, but here he shows what he can do in coverage. Saints fans are going to want a pass interference call here, but Christian is sticky in coverage and plays the ball. This play comes in the regular season meeting between the Rams and Saints and at a pretty big moment. The Rams just tied the game and Christian breaks up this pass to force a field goal attempt. While the Saints go on to win, Christian took some pressure off of the offense for the next drive.
Will Christian prove to be more than a special teams ace?
Christian and Littleton have been two of the best special teams players for the Rams under special teams coach John Fassell. However, in order to make the final roster, he’ll need to continue to prove that he can develop on defense.
2019 Outlook and Role
With Weddle, Johnson, and Rapp in the fold, it seems likely that Christian’s snaps on defense will go down. However, he should stil have a large role on special teams and play in some defensive packages. This isn’t a player that’s going to start, but good teams have depth and that’s what Christian is.
Chances of Making Final Roster
Christian will have his work cut out for him with seventh-round pick Nick Scott gunning for a roster spot. However, with Christian’s experience, value on special teams, and versatility on defense, he should make the roster for a fourth straight year.