Rams rookie CB Derion Kendrick standing out early in training camp

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There are surprise standouts in training camp every year, whether it’s an undrafted rookie, an overlooked free-agent signing or a late-round pick. This summer, it seems like Derion Kendrick’s turn to make a great first impression.

Through four days of practice, the rookie cornerback has caught the eye of those around him, from media members in attendance to his teammates and coaches. He had a particularly good day on Wednesday, breaking up two passes intended for Allen Robinson in the end zone.

The first one apparently had the entire defense fired up, celebrating the great defensive play made by the sixth-round rookie.

After practice, Sean McVay talked about Kendrick’s competitiveness, which the Rams saw in college when he was at Clemson and Georgia. McVay says Kendrick is getting a lot of passes thrown at him in practice, and he seems to be responding well to the challenge.

Robinson has gone up against a lot of really good cornerbacks throughout his career, whether it was Jalen Ramsey in camp with the Jaguars or guys like Jaire Alexander in the NFC North. It’s obviously early, but like McVay, Robinson loves Kendrick’s competitiveness on the field.

That competition will make everyone better come Week 1, too.

“He’s a competitor. He’s good. He’s been playing hard. He’s a good competitor, and that’s what you want as far as young guys, veterans, whoever,” Robinson said. “You want that competition in training camp. That’s what gets you ready for the season so you can go back and look at different things. He made a couple of good plays today, so I go back and assess things that I could do better. That’s what you want, that you’re constantly putting yourself in that mentality getting ready for the season, seeing different things and what I could’ve done here, what I could’ve done there.

“When you have a good team, you have a step ahead of others when you’re having a good-on-good competition like that.”

The Rams added Kendrick in the sixth round of the draft this year, and the primary reason he slipped so far down the board was his athleticism. There were questions about his speed after he reportedly ran a 4.77 in the 40-yard dash, which is a poor time for a cornerback.

But Kendrick is showing speed isn’t everything, and the way he’s competing against a top-end receiver like Robinson proves he can stick around in this league when put in the right situation.

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