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Fitting the mold: What do the Rams value in defensive backs?

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – While the Rams stocked their secondary with several young players via the 2022 NFL Draft, departures this offseason still make it a potential position of need entering the 2023 NFL Draft according to experts.

Should Los Angeles add to that room via the 2023 NFL Draft, there's a couple key intangibles they look for in prospects, according to defensive backs coach/pass game coordinator Aubrey Pleasant: Competitiveness and versatility.

"How is he as a competitor? Does he have any position flexibility? What does he do best?" Pleasant told earlier this month. "From there, we kind of evaluate each player and see how he's a scheme fit for us."

With those traits as reference points, the Rams look for players who fit those intangibles and get a feel for where they could plug and play best.

Pleasant points to examples from his first stint on L.A.'s coaching staff in David Long Jr. and Darious Williams as players who fit that mold.

"(Williams) didn't maybe fit the traditional physical attributes that you would look for in a corner, but the way he played against some of the bigger teams, he played at a very high level, and we saw that kind of seeping through the tape," Pleasant said. "So when he came out as a free agent, we really saw a couple of those skillsets and we're like, 'Hey, how can that then transfer to what we do?' and then after he got here, took a couple of years, but he was able to really build up and to keep that spot.

"Or if you look at a guy like David Long, David Long had all those attributes, all the measurables, he played at a high level in the Big Ten, he was from this area, we knew that he'd be an easy plug-and-play fit, and obviously when he got here, he was able to play a lot of football for us here, and was able to have a lot of success before I was able to leave."

Should the Rams address the position via the draft or undrafted free agents, that experience will benefit Pleasant, who is looking forward to the competition that would create.

"What I'm looking forward to most is just the level of competition," Pleasant said. "I mean, it's very evident and obvious to everyone that we have some positions that need to be filled. So no matter if it's the guys that are here or guys that will be coming (with) the opportunity to go out there and compete, and just do your best and get an opportunity to start at this level. I think that's all a guy could really ask for."

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