Why the Rams were wise to make Jared Verse and Braden Fiske teammates again

Jared Verse and Braden Fiske were two of the best players on Florida State’s defense last season. It’s why they were the first two defenders from the Seminoles drafted this year, both by the Los Angeles Rams.

Although they only spent one season together at Florida State, they quickly formed a strong bond – both on the field and in the weight room. They played off each other as pass rushers with stunts and games up front, while also pushing each other to be great in practice and workouts.

For those reasons, the Rams were smart to keep Verse and Fiske together as teammates in Los Angeles. Verse talked about their connection after the two were drafted, saying he never met someone who works as hard as he does until he met Fiske.

The two competed in everything, whether it was having longer workouts, winning reps in practice and anything else they could push each other in. And their film sessions were an hour or two a day, similar to the way Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp watch tape together with the Rams.

“Braden Fiske is the only person I say this about,” he said. “I’ve never in my life met someone who works harder or just as hard as me until I met Fiske. This guy’s in the training room, he’s in there an hour before me. I’m in the weight room, he comes in 5 minutes later and I gotta extend my workout because I can’t let him be in there longer than me. He’s on the field, I’m there, we’re competing in everything we do. It’s just been a competition every day. We just bonded over how bad we want it. We watch film together probably an hour, two hours a day every day, the whole season, before the season, after the season. We just watched film together. We spent so much time together so it just became bonding over the work.”

Most NFL players are naturally driven to be great, but it never hurts to have someone else pushing you to be even better. That’s what Fiske and Verse bring to the Rams as former and current teammates.

On the field, Verse and Fiske already have built-in chemistry from last season at Florida State. They often ran stunts from their DT-DE spots, whether it was Verse crashing down to take out the guard or Fiske drawing two blockers his way to allow Verse to loop inside.

There were several examples of that in Florida State’s ACC championship win over Louisville where the Seminoles had seven sacks as a team – three by Fiske and two by Verse, who also combined for 7.5 tackles for a loss.

Verse and Fiske will each need to earn starting jobs first, but once they get on the field together, they’re going to be a difficult tandem to stop. The Rams may have given up a lot to trade up for Fiske, but keeping him and Verse together will pay dividends in the immediate future and the long run.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire