HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Anytime a player can play multiple positions on defense – especially in the secondary in a pass-heavy NFL – it makes them all the more valuable to that team's defense.
The Rams are getting it in Kansas State defensive back Russ Yeast, who was chosen with the 253rd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft by them.
"It definitely helps, having corner experience," Yeast said during his video conference following his selection. "It helps me be able to cover better in the slot as a safety. Just being able to have those coverage abilities sets me apart."
Yeast capitalized on that skillset to finish 14th in the country and second in the Big 12 in interceptions last season with four while starting all 13 games at safety. He also had nine pass breakups and an interception in four seasons at the University of Louisville prior to transferring to Kansas State.
"I feel like I can be a contributor in a lot of different ways," Yeast said. "I'm just going to come in there and compete and put my head down and work."
For the Rams, that flexibility has been personified by the play of former cornerback Darious Williams as well as current cornerback Troy Hill, who was re-acquired in a trade with the Browns on Saturday. Both players' versatility was what allowed the Rams to play defensive back Jalen Ramsey at different spots in the secondary.
Yeast now gets to team up with Ramsey, Hill, and other talented players in Los Angeles' secondary, not to mention All-Pros Aaron Donald and Bobby Wagner.
"I've been watching those guys since they were in college and I was in middle school," Yeast said. "Those guys are like superstars, so it will be great being able to play in the same defense as those guys, learn from them and their practice habits and how they go about their business on their daily business, what it takes to be a pro, so I'm excited."
While there's a lot of competition in the Rams' defensive back room Yeast has been added to, he's not letting it affect him.
"I try not to compare myself to other guys," Yeast said. "I'm just going to go in there and compete every day and put my best foot forward every day and see how that falls. I'm really confident in what I can do and I'm not shying away from competition."