The early returns on the Rams 2020 Draft Class are very encouraging.
Given the team needs at running back, receiver, outside linebacker, and in the secondary, it was essential that players like Cam Akers, Van Jefferson, Terrell Lewis, and Terrell Burgess delivered right away. Thankfully, they have. Each will make the initial 53-man roster and figure to be active contributors in Week One.
At 199th overall, however, it's rare to find a player capable of making a training camp impact like that of Jordan Fuller. But the least surprised member of the organization is a Midwest area scout who felt strongly that the former Ohio State safety belonged.
"If you get to know Brian Hill, he's no nonsense," said general manager Les Snead of the person most responsible for Los Angeles' sixth round selection.
"He has no problem dissenting, even if you try to talk him into liking a player who doesn't meet his standards," Snead continued. "(Manager, Data and Analytics) Jake Temme noticed the particular grade Brian gave Jordan Fuller. This code that we kind of stamp on the grade, which means, 'Hey. Really want this human being in the Rams locker room.'
"There are only about five players, maybe seven, Brian Hill's ever given this grade to and all of them are very successful in the NFL."
I relayed that anecdote to Fuller on a recent Rams Revealed podcast.
"Wow. I haven't heard that story," he replied. "That really means a lot. I didn't know that prior to you just telling me that just right now. I guess it's just a testament to how people talk about me and how people view me but I guess it doesn't mean nothing unless I go do it now. But yeah, that's high praise and I don't take that lightly."
Asked what he thought may have led the Rams – and the Buckeyes, who twice voted him team captain – to feel that way about his intangibles, Fuller pointed to his total investment.
"I just care a lot. I care a lot about my teammates. I care a lot about what I do, and I take this stuff seriously. I would say, when things get hard… I'm someone you can lean on from a teammate standpoint and from a coach-to-player. You know I'm going to be in the right spot at the right time."
When Taylor Rapp missed training camp with a minor knee injury, Fuller stepped right into the void at safety, consistently taking starters reps and creating multiple takeaways. As Rapp returns to pair with John Johnson as starters in the back end, Fuller and fellow rookie Burgess give the Rams one of the deepest and most versatile secondaries in the league. And while the Academic All-American is known for his leadership ability, he's also comfortable taking his cue from the veterans ahead of him as he prepares for his opportunity.
"I'm not a huge rah-rah guy, but I will say something when it needs to be said. Most of all, just a supportive teammate and do what needs to get done."
The Los Angeles Rams have their second scrimmage of 2020 at SoFi Stadium.