The St. Louis Rams are a very young team — the youngest in the NFL in fact. The Rams’ defensive backs, in particular, are talented, but very inexperienced as a unit and were a weakness of the team in 2013. To fortify its secondary, St. Louis traded up in order and took former Florida State standout Lamarcus Joyner in the second round of the 2014 draft.
When the Rams’ initial depth chart was released, it was somewhat confusing since Joyner was listed as a third-string safety. He currently sits in the exact same spot on paper, but not in the hearts and minds of the Rams’ brass. DC Gregg Williams intends on using Joyner as the starting nickelback during his rookie campaign.
During the Rams’ preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints, Joyner looked like he naturally belonged on the field. He made two tackles in limited duty, including a devastating hit on the Saints wide receiver Nick Toon. Joyner finished the game with two tackles, and the respect of the Rams’ coaching staff and veterans alike.
Not one member of the Rams’ projected starting secondary has more than two years experience in the NFL. The same can be said for the backups in St. Louis. Safety T.J. McDonald is heading into just his sophomore campaign, and although Janoris Jenkins has played a year longer, McDonald projects to be the unit’s leader. If St. Louis lost the presence of McDonald, or its starting FS Rodney McLeod to injury, it’s likely Joyner’s versatility would allow head coach Jeff Fisher to insert him into that role instead of starting him in sub-packages.
That being said, Joyner might be the most physically gifted member of the unit, and St. Louis just might have pulled off a heist for years to come in the second round. It’s starting to look like the Rams might have had the most significant rookie class in the entire league with Joyner, Greg Robinson, Aaron Donald and Tre Mason all loaded with talent and potential.