Snead’s Snacks: Who Could the Rams Draft at Cornerback?

by Blaine Grisak
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The Los Angeles Rams enter a crucial year when it comes to the NFL draft. With limited cap space (and limited draft capital for that matter), it’s going to be more important than ever to build depth through the draft and than means hitting on the majority of their picks.

Every year I do a series called “Snead’s Snacks”.  In other words, we’re going to find and look at common themes and traits of previous Les Snead draft picks and see which players in the upcoming NFL Draft fit the mold for the Rams. The focus for today’s edition of “Snead’s Snacks” will be on one of the Rams’ biggest positions of need, the cornerback position. Last season we correctly predicted Ernest Jones and Robert Rochell as fits for the Rams.

After losing Darious Williams in free agency, the Rams need a CB 2/3. They need someone with an ability to start as well as add depth. Robert Rochell has potential, but dealt with injuries as a rookie. Adding depth is a must.

*Editor’s Note: Numbers taken from RAS and Mockdraftable

Notable Past Rams Drafted Players

Robert Rochell, CB, Central Arkansas – 4th Round

Measurables:
Height: 6’0 (57th percentile)
Weight: 193-lbs (52nd percentile)
Arm Length: 32.375 inches (82nd percentile)
Shuttle: 4.08 sec (69th percentile)
Broad Jump: 11.01 feet (96th percentile)
3-cone: 6.84 (71st percentile)
40-yard dash: 4.41 (79th percentile)
Vertical: 43 inches (98th percentile)

Size Grade: Good
Speed Grade: Elite
RAS: 9.65 – Elite

Traits:

  • Elite physical traits
  • Legitimate ball skills
  • Physical
  • Explosive with long arms

Overview of Pick

Robert Rochell was someone who I featured in this same series last year as an honorable mention player. The Rams selected him in the fourth round and it’s clear to see why. He matched their profile with his elite physical attributes, long arms, and physicality.

David Long, CB, Michigan – 3rd Round

Measurables:
Height: 5’10 (32nd percentile)
Weight 196-lbs (64th percentile)
Arm Length: 30.875 inches (30th percentile)
Shuttle: 3.97 sec (90th percentile)
Broad Jump: 10.00 feet (36th percentile)
3-cone: 6.45 sec (98th percentile)
40-yard dash: 4.45 (64th percentile)
Vertical: 39.5 sec (87th percentile)

Size Grade: Good
Speed Grade: Good
RAS: 9.2 – Elite

Traits: 

  • Physical
  • Fast
  • Competitor
  • Plays bigger than his size

Overview of Pick

David Long was drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He has yet to make much of an impact and it’s because of that the Rams are in need of finding another number two cornerback. It was thought that might be long, but he has yet to show that ability.

EJ Gaines, CB, Mizzou – 6th Round

Measurables:
Height: 5’9 (22nd percentile)
Weight: 190-lbs (38th percentile)
Arm Length: 30.375 inches (16th percentile)
Shuttle: 4.28 sec (24th percentile)
Broad Jump: 9.07 feet (9th percentile)
3-cone: 7.13 sec (16th percentile)
40-yard dash: 4.51 (44th percentile)
Vertical: 31.5 inches (6th percentile)

Size Grade: Poor
Speed Grade: Good
RAS: 3.52 Poor

Traits:

  • Strong, physical
  • Good tackler
  • Plays bigger than size

Overview of Pick

For a sixth round pick, EJ Gaines was very good. He was traded to the Buffalo Bills during the Sammy Watkins trade, but prior to that, he was a solid depth cornerback. He even spent some time as the team’s number two cornerback. For a sixth round pick, this was a steal.

Brandon McGee, CB, Miami – 5th Round

Measurables:
Height: 5’11 (44th percentile)
Weight: 193-lbs (52nd percentile)
Arm Length: 32 inches (72nd percentile)
Shuttle: 4.18 sec (45th percentile)
Broad Jump: 9.11 feet (29th percentile)
3-cone: 6.71 sec (88th percentile)
40-yard dash: 4.4 (83rd percentile)
Vertical: 33.5 inches (17th percentile)

Size Grade: Good
Speed Grade: Great
RAS: 8.11 – Elite

Traits:

  • Fast
  • Competitor
  • Sound Tackler

Overview of Pick

Brandon McGree had the size, but never showed it on the field. He was on the Rams for two years before finally getting cut. Not all day three picks pan out. However, McGee had the size and athleticism that is worth taking a chance on late.

Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida – 2nd Round

Measurables:
Height: 5’10 (22nd percentile)
Weight: 193-lbs (52nd percentile)
Arm Length: 32 inches (72nd percentile)
Shuttle: 4.13 sec (61st percentile)
Broad Jump: 10.01 feet (44th percentile)
3-cone: 6.95 sec (43rd percentile)
40-yard dash: 4.46 sec (64th percentile)
Vertical: 33.5 inches (13th percentile)

Size Grade: Okay
Speed Grade: Great
RAS: 7.23 – Good

Traits:

  • Plays bigger than his size
  • Good tackler
  • Fast

Overview of Pick

There’s a reason Janoris Jenkins is still in the league and it’s because he’s a very talented player. Coming out of college, there weren’t questions about his talent as much as his character. Thus far into his NFL career, many would say the same. Jenkins was a good pick for the Rams and it’s worth wondering if the team should have brought him back on a second contract instead of Trumaine Johnson.

Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana – 2nd Round

Measurables:
Height: 6’1 (93rd percentile)
Weight: 204-lbs (88th percentile)
Arm Length: 33.25 inches (95th percentile)
Shuttle: 4.15 sec (56th percentile)
Broad Jump: 10.02 feet (51st percentile)
3-cone: 7.2 (7th percentile)
40-yard dash: 4.61 (14th percentile)
Vertical: 35.5 (36th percentile)

Size Grade: Elite
Speed Grade: Poor
RAS: 5.81 – Good

Traits:

  • Good size
  • Good ball skills
  • Physical

Overview of Pick

Trumaine Johnson had the size, but never showed the ability to be a true tp cornerback in the NFL. He proved that when he signed his large contract with the New York Jets. Johnson was able to make up for his lack of speed and consistency with his size and length.

Notable Past Rams Undrafted Players

Troy Hill, CB, Oregon – 2015 UDFA

Size: 5’10, 182-lbs

Measurables:
Height: 5’10 (22nd percentile)
Weight: 182-lbs.(11th percentile)
Arm Length: 29.5 inches (3rd percentile)
Shuttle: 4.15 (40th percentile)
Broad Jump: 10.02 feet (36th percentile)
3-cone: 6.65 (74th percentile)
40-yard dash: 4.54 (28th percentile)
Vertical: 34 inches (10th percentile)

Size Grade: Poor
Speed Grade: Okay
RAS: 2.91 – Poor

Traits:

  • Competitor
  • Physical tackler
  • Good ball skills

Overview of Pick

Troy Hill was inconsistent, but for an undrafted free agent, he put in a very solid tenure with the Rams. Not many undrafted free agents work their way up to the number two cornerback role on a roster. Hill did just that and it’s because of that competitiveness that he showed throughout his college career.

Darious Williams, CB, UAB – 2018 UDFA

Measurables:
Height: 5’9
Weight: 184-lbs
Arm Length: 30.75 inches
Shuttle: 4.34 sec
Broad Jump: 10.02 feet
3-cone: 6.85 sec
40-yard dash: 4.44 sec
Vertical: 39 inches

Size Grade: Poor
Speed Grade: Great
RAS: 7.26 – Good

Traits:

  • Plays bigger than his size
  • Good ball skills
  • Fast

Overview of Pick

Darious Williams isn’t the biggest defensive back, but he plays a lot bigger than his size. That’s showed by how he played against one of the NFL’s most physically imposing wide receivers in DK Metcalf last season. The Rams would have loved to bring back Hill, but Williams is a big reason why they were able to let him walk.

Common Traits The Rams Look For in Cornerbacks

Here are the common traits that can help us build a rough mold of what Snead might look for in rookie cornerback:

  • Unlike some positions, the Rams have shown that they value the cornerback spot and don’t mind taking one in the second or third round. Therefore, a cornerback with their first pick isn’t totally out of the question. In fact, three of the notable cornerbacks on this list were taken in the third round or sooner.
  • The Rams tend to like cornerbacks with good ball skills. Darious Williams intercepted five passes and broke up 19 during his senior year at UAB. Troy Hill was third in the country in passes broke up when the Rams signed him. Trumaine Johnson consistently showed the ability to intercept the ball at Montana. Rochell had 12 career takeaways.
  • Les Snead seems to like physical cornerbacks who play with an edge. Nearly all of the players on this list have “competitiveness” listed as one of their intangibles.
  • There seems to be a narrative that the Rams like big, lengthy cornerbacks. While that’s not necessarily false, they simply like cornerbacks who play big. Williams, Gaines, Jenkins, and Long all played bigger than their size in college. Contrarily though, only four of the cornerbacks drafted had arms longer than 32 inches and only Rochell, Johnson, and McGee were taller than 5’10. However, it’s worth noting that four of the six cornerbacks they’ve drafted had arm lengths in the 70th percentile or higher.
  • The Rams seem to value speed. Outside of Trumaine Johnson, all the cornerbacks on this list ran a sub-4.6 40-time and four of them ran sub-4.5. Johnson was the only cornerback who tested poorly in speed drills as well. Last season, Rochell had an elite speed grade and his 40 was one of the fastest in the class among cornerbacks.

2022 Players Who Fit The Rams

1) Cam Taylor-Britt – Nebraska

If Taylor-Britt falls to the Los Angeles Rams at 104, he will likely be very much in consideration. Two of Taylor-Britt’s RAS comps are Janoris Jenkins and Brandon McGee. The Rams drafted both players. Taylor-Britt had five interceptions and 22 pass breakups at Nebraska and showed he was a very physical cornerback. The Nebraska corner ran a sub 4.40-40-time with a great composite speed RAS score. Keep an eye on this Big-10 corner.

Draft Grade: 3rd Round

2) Zyon McCollum – Sam Houston State

Zyon McCollum checks a lot of the boxes that the Los Angeles Rams typically look for in the cornerback position. He has elite ball production as he finished his career with 13 interceptions and six forced fumbles. Additionally, he’s an exceptional athlete and posted an elite speed RAS grade with a 4.33 4-time. He’d be the tallest cornerback that the Rams have drafted, but he shows strong potential. McCollum was also at the 2022 Senior Bowl.

3) Chase Lucas – Arizona State

Chase Lucas is an experienced corner that comes from the Pac-12 at Arizona State. One of Lucas’ knocks is his lack of size, but again, the Rams don’t target big corners. He has six career interceptions at the collegiate level and 28 passes defended, but does a great job at tracking the ball. He also has good speed as he ran a 4.48 40-yard dash. As another “big school” target, Lucas makes sense.

Draft Grade: Day 3

Draft Grade: 4th Round

4) Decobie Durant – South Carolina State

Decobie Durant fits the bill for what the Los Angeles Rams have looked for in the past when it comes to smaller cornerbacks. In this case, size doesn’t matter. It’s one of the main things that the Rams look at. While Durant is only listed at 5’9, he ran a 4.38 40-time and still has a 30.75 inch arm length. This very similar to Darious Williams. Additionally, he adds the ball production that the Rams look for as he had 12 career interceptions.

Draft Grade: Late Day 3

Honorable Mentions For The Rams

Montaric Brown – Arkansas

  • Five interceptions in 2021
  • Elite ball skills with production
  • Physical style of play

Alontae Taylor – Tennessee

  • Good speed and arm length
  • Physical Playmaker
  • Strong leadership foundation

Tariq Castro-Fields – Penn State

  • Good speed as he ran a 4.38-40.
  • 25 passes defended in college.
  • Good length and leadership
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LA_Champ54
LA_Champ54
5 months ago

Aye….Taylor-Britt, Alontae Taylor, and Castro-Fields….money!

Ike Taylor-Stewart & Chris Steele (USC), Joshua Williams,
Jalyn Armour-Davis (Bama), and Sam Web.

We can load up on unknowns and weed out about 5 of them. Losing D. Will is huge. Passing league.

Like this piece Blaine.

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