Los Angeles Rams 90-Man Roster Preview: Cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman

by Jake Ellenbogen
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Cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman was the hero for the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC title game, however, that all could have been reversed if a different call on the field was made. Today, the man they refer to as “NRC” is arguably the best nickel cornerback in the game. We’ll preview the former one-year prove-it deal holder that turned himself into a key component.

2018 Season

For the 27-year-old, the 2018 season was a great year as the Rams went 13-3, improved on the previous year and went to the Super Bowl. Robey-Coleman played in all 16 games this past season and took on a bigger role once Aqib Talib went down with an injury. Robey-Coleman plays the slot corner position, however, he has had his fair share of opportunities on the outside. He thrives though in the short area game as a nickel cornerback.

One funny thing to point out. Despite being an enemy to some, Robey-Coleman became a household name following the infamous “no-call” in the Saints playoff game. Since the call was a no-call, it’s going to be the one of my most memorable of calls all time.

Roster Battle

There isn’t and shouldn’t be a roster battle for arguably the best cornerback on the roster. Robey-Coleman was graded higher than any other corner on the team this week per Pro Football Focus. There’s only one true nickel cornerback after Robey-Coleman and that would be Donte Deayon. While Deayon has a chance to crack the 53-man roster, he’s going to have to move mountains to become a starter over the established Robey-Coleman.

Three Plays On Tape

Robey-Coleman gets very jumpy here on this first-and-10 play. Robey-Coleman motions over to the boundary and undercuts the receiver for an interception. Coleman not only gets the interception on Brian Hoyer here but he is able to jump up and high point the football. Let’s not forget that Robey-Coleman is, in fact, 5-foot-8 and that is not easy to do.

Here’s a play that shows how sticky Robey-Coleman can be in coverage. On third down on the opening drive, Carson Wentz wants to go to receiver Nelson Agholor. The only problem is that Robey-Coleman has him locked up. Wentz tries to rifle it into a tight window and Robey-Coleman forces the tip drill into a diving Kayvon Webster‘s arms. Great rep by Robey-Coleman to force the turnover.

Super Bowl LIII starts off with an opening drive interception after the Patriots drive down to what is almost the red zone. Great anticipation shown by Robey-Coleman prevents the Tom Brady pass completion to Julian Edelman. The coverage also forces another tip drill as it flies up into the arms of linebacker Cory Littleton for what should have been a game-changing play in the biggest game of the year.

Biggest Question

How much better can Robey-Coleman get?

I think it’s a fair question but really the only one you can ask right now in regards to Robey-Coleman’s game. The former Buffalo Bill ascended as soon as he signed with the Los Angeles Rams. It would be an absolute joke if the Rams did not start him at the nickel spot. That is why that is not the biggest question. However, when eyeing someone’s game who is really good as it is, the question should be geared around the ceiling.

Is Robey-Coleman a maxed out player in terms of potential and production? Potentially. However, he could end up getting even better as he now officially enters the prime of his career. It doesn’t hurt to have a duo of Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib playing alongside him either.

2019 Outlook and Role

The 2019 season is the first season in Robey-Coleman’s career in which he is now known by many fans across the country. This could be his best season especially if Peters and Talib stay healthy all year and are able to build off that great chemistry. The continuity for Robey-Coleman is there with Wade Phillips and company. We’ve seen it all from Robey-Coleman since coming over to Los Angeles. He’s a guy that has ball skills, quick-twitch athlete, sticky in coverage, moves extremely well in and out of a back peddle and is feisty. The 5-foot-8 cornerback might be limited in terms of size but he certainly doesn’t play like that is the case.

Chance of Making Final Roster

100 percent. It would take something catastrophic off the field (which isn’t in Robey-Coleman’s nature) to derail the nickel corner’s future with the Los Angeles Rams. He’s already signed that extension with the team and everyone loves him. He made the roster as soon as he signed his prove-it deal. That was a deal no one brings up but in regards to signing Robey-Coleman to a veteran minimum or near a vet-minimum deal, that might be one of the best moves Les Snead has ever made as a general manager.

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