Finding breakout candidates on the defensive side of the ball for the St Louis Rams is quite the task considering the roster turnover that the team has experienced this offseason. Both Chris Long and James Laurinaitis broke out last season, catapulting themselves into the conversation about the league’s elites at their positions, but the team may have some new names ready to have similar success in 2012.
It may be a lot to ask of a rookie to immediately become an elite player, but Jenkins has that ability that translates across all different languages. He’s fast, he’s athletic, and he has great instincts. While his off-field escapades may not be the most sought after, on the field of play he is a monster. The Rams signed corner Cortland Finnegan to a big contract at the other cornerback spot and his presence will make quarterbacks force the ball to the opposite side of the field and provide Jenkins with the opportunity to make plenty of big plays.
He has already gotten a lot of press this offseason, but Quinn appears poised to have a true standout year in his second season. With Long opposite him on the defensive front and some added depth at the defensive tackle position, there will likely be plenty of one-on-one match-ups for Quinn to take advantage of this year. His extreme athleticism is a mismatch against any slow-footed tackles and if he can refine his technique throughout the offseason, the Rams will see plenty of production from Quinn in the year ahead.
These players are far from locks to become elite NFL names in the year ahead, but on the Rams’ defense, each offers plenty of reasons why they could really breakout in 2012. No one saw Laurinaitis or Long as elite players before last season either and now they are Pro Bowl level veterans on a young and improving defense.
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