5 safeties for Rams to watch at NFL combine
The Rams are in danger of losing both of their starting safeties this offseason as Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott are set to become free agents. They’re a team that rarely re-signs safeties, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see both leave.
If they do, the Rams will likely address the position in the draft, potentially in Round 2 or 3. While there’s no star safety in the 2023 draft class, there are some solid options in the middle rounds.
Here are five safeties the Rams should watch at the NFL Scouting Combine this week.
Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M
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Johnson is likely to be the top safety on the board when the Rams go on the clock at No. 36, seeing as Brian Branch is expected to go much earlier than that. Johnson is at his best when playing around the line of scrimmage, which has a lot of value in today’s NFL. He can also line up deep and cover the slot, the latter of which is where he played the majority of his snaps in the last two seasons. He can be a little inconsistent with his tackling, but the potential as an all-around safety is absolutely there.
Sydney Brown, Illinois
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Brown is undersized a little bit for a safety, but he can still make a living in the box and the slot. He played 444 of his 742 snaps in the box last season, with another 177 in the slot, allowing a passer rating of just 49.6 in coverage. Impressively, he had six interceptions and gave up just one touchdown, too. His athleticism will be on full display at the combine this week during on-field drills and timed testing.
Jordan Battle, Alabama
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Battle hails from Nick Saban’s defense, which is always a good trait for a safety. He played most of his snaps as the deep safety (574 of 907 in 2022) and should fit in that role at the next level, too. He only missed eight tackles last season and earned a coverage grade of 85.2, per PFF, with a run defense grade of 72.5. He’s an instinctive safety with good range and size for the position. he should do well in drills at the combine.
Jammie Robinson, Florida State
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Robinson is likely to come in below 6 feet during the combine this week, but that’s fine because he plays bigger than his listed size. He’s a versatile defender who played 352 deep snaps, 252 in the box and 167 covering the slot, a nice range of alignment positions in the Florida State defense. The combine probably won’t do him any favors because his strengths are seen on tape, not in testing numbers.
Ji’Ayir Brown, Penn State
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Brown made Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks” list at The Athletic thanks to his 4.45 speed and 370-pound bench press. For a guy who’s 5-foot-11, that’s remarkable strength. He’s a super athletic player who does need some refinement in the NFL, but the skill set and potential are both there for a coaching staff to mold. His stock could improve significantly at the combine if he performs the way some expect him to.