Bobby Wagner: Ernest Jones has ‘all the attributes of a great linebacker’

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In the first few years of Sean McVay’s tenure in Los Angeles, the Rams didn’t sink many assets into the inside linebacker position. They got by with the players they had, from Cory Littleton to Kenny Young, but it was viewed as a weakness of the defense.

Last year, they drafted Ernest Jones in the third round. And then this offseason, they added Bobby Wagner in free agency, taking inside linebacker from being a liability to a strength. Wagner completely changes the complexion of this position group, but Jones is a big part of it, too.

Wagner and Jones have gotten to know each other in the last month or so, and the veteran is doing what he can to help the younger guys. He sees great potential in Jones’ game, saying he has everything it takes to be a premier linebacker.

“It’s been really fun getting to know Ernest over these last few weeks and months. It’s been cool being in the linebacker room. It’s funny because I’m the older guy now, so I think he was born in ’98 or ’99, which is very close to 2000, so I let him know about that constantly,” Wagner said, smiling. “It’s been fun, it’s been exciting to get out on the field, work with him a little bit – all the guys. It’s gonna be fun. He has all the attributes of a great linebacker and if I can do anything to help, I will.”

Wagner will get most of the reps at inside linebacker, but Jones is going to be on the field a ton, too. The Rams are already cooking up ways to creatively utilize both players together, whether it’s with one of them blitzing or both dropping back into coverage on early passing downs.

Regardless of how this situation plays out, the Rams are going to be in way better shape at linebacker this season than they were from 2017-2020. They now have elite players at all three levels, with Aaron Donald, Wagner and Jalen Ramsey layering the defense.