The Rams have seemingly methodically been building their defense one positional group at a time. First, it was it the defensive line (age and draft position under each player):
That would be 3 Top 14 picks in 5 years.
Then last year, Jeff Fisher and Co. made major investments in fixing the CB position:
This year, it could be the safeties. Craig Dahl left for the 49ers in free agency this offseason and Quinton Mikell was released in a salary cap move, leaving Rams’ with the following safeties on their roster:
- Darian Stewart: Undrafted free agent in 2010. Starter in 2011. Under Jeff Fisher, lost starting job to Craig Dahl.
- Rodney McLeod: Undrafted free agent in 2012. Played 3 defensive snaps last season.
- Matt Daniels: Undrafted free agent in 2012. 0 career defensive snaps snaps.
- Quinton Pointer: Undrafted free agent in 2012. Played 6 defensive snaps last season.
This safety class is considered to be extraordinarily deep. There’s a pretty good bet that the Rams draft at least 2 this year, and possibly one in the first round.
Jonathan Cyprien has had a meteoric rise over the last few months after standing out at the Senior Bowl, where he laid several big hits on ball carriers in practice. That meteoric rise was probably just among draftniks, not necessarily NFL teams who probably already knew all about him. Jeff Fisher loves hard-hitting safeties, and has coached his share of them: Gary Fencik, Andre Waters, Wes Hopkins, Bubba McDowell, Blaine Bishop, etc.
Cyprien can be the enforcer in the Rams’ secondary, but that’s not all he brings to the table. He’s also widely regarded as a very athletic player who can run and make plays on balls in the air.
And he has a cool looking visor.