Rams land in top 12 of ESPN’s early 2024 power rankings

The Los Angeles Rams turned out to be much better than expected in 2023, going 10-7 and reaching the playoffs in a season when very few people picked them to even win more than seven or eight games. The feeling heading into the 2024 season is much more positive, knowing the Rams will have Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams all back in the mix next year.

ESPN released its early 2024 power rankings following the Chiefs’ win over the 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday night and though the Rams weren’t a top-10 team, they were awfully close.

Los Angeles was slotted in at No. 12, just behind the 10th-ranked Packers and 11th-ranked Browns.

The Rams opted to go with youth alongside Aaron Donald in 2023 after moving on from several veteran defensive players during the offseason. L.A. drafted two key contributors in nose tackle Kobie Turner and outside linebacker Byron Young, both third-round picks. But although defensive coordinator Raheem Morris got a lot out of the inexperienced unit in 2023, there are still holes for new DC Chris Shula to fill.

There are plenty of reasons for optimism as the Rams look ahead to next season. In addition to the five aforementioned players all returning, Los Angeles has a first-round pick and plenty of cap space to be more aggressive in free agency after shedding big contracts last offseason.

That doesn’t mean the Rams are going to spend $25 million the day free agency begins, but they should be in the mix for more big names this March than they were last year.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire