Rams have another flashy rookie corner, Decobie Durant, in camp

Smaller school, same big impression.

The Rams drafted cornerback Decobie Durant in the fourth round from South Carolina State, a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference HBCU program.

On Friday, Durant showed there was more than one talented rookie cornerback playing early in training camp.

Two days after Derion Kendrick put on a great sixth-round performance, Durant intercepted two passes as the Rams practiced in pads for the first time.

With thousands of fans in attendance at the Rams’ first public practice session at UC Irvine, Durant picked up passes from Matthew Stafford and John Wolford in team practice.

“Two really great games,” said coach Sean McVay.

The Super Bowl champ Rams drafted four defenders among their eight picks as they look ahead: Durant; Kendrick, who played with Clemson and Georgia; and Collateral Quentin Lake (UCLA) and Russ Yeast (Louisville and Kansas State).

Durant — “When I was growing up, everyone just called me Cobie,” he said in an interview this week — is fighting for a spot in a cornerback rotation that includes star Jalen Ramsey, veterans Troy Hill and David Long, and the pro in second Year, Robert Rochell, belong.

“I just really listen to the vets,” Durant said, “so I’ll always be ready when my time calls.”

In four collegiate seasons, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Durant intercepted 12 passes. Last season, Durant improved his drafting profile with the Rams when he caught two passes in a 49-3 loss to the powerful Clemson, a feat McVay cited on Friday.

Durant became the first player drafted from South Carolina State since 2018, when the Indianapolis Colts selected linebacker Darius Leonard. Durant said while he didn’t play with Leonard, the three-time All-Pro inspired him.

Rams cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey (5) Troy Hill (2) and Caesar Dancy-Williams gather on the sidelines during practice.

Rams cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey (5) Troy Hill (2) and Caesar Dancy-Williams gather on the sidelines during practice. Ramsey and Hill are the likely starters.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

“Kudos to him for paving the way,” Durant said.

Now, Durant said he’s comfortable leading the way for his former college teammates.

“It’s different when you actually play with a person who has a chance to go into the NFL,” he said, adding, “My teammates … they feel like they know they played with me and me.” now see in the NFL on the field. it gives them hope.

“They always ask me questions. They are proud of me and want to be here too. This makes them sweat even more.”

Upon arriving for the spring team activities organized by the Rams, Durant immersed himself in the script.

Safety Jordan Fuller said Durant impressed him early on and the cornerback’s game continued to improve.

“I knew he was a special talent and I knew what he was capable of,” Fuller said Friday. “He doesn’t even scratch the surface of what he could be.”

Durant has played from the hybrid “star” position, which requires skills to play as an inside and outside cornerback.

Ramsey, a three-time All-Pro, redefined the position, but other cornerbacks are being groomed for the role.

“There’s a lot of nuance that we demand of this ‘star’ position and he’s getting more comfortable every day,” McVay said of Durant.

McVay does not play starters or other key veterans during preseason games. Durant appears on the line in games against the Chargers, Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals to have plenty of chances as the Rams prepare for their Sept. 8 opener against the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium.

Durant said he, Kendrick and other young defenders compete to improve each other.

“I’m just doing the best I can and talking to the vets,” Durant said, “and when the time comes for the preseason games, all the rookies will be on the field and we’ll be ready to play. ”

https://www.latimes.com/sports/rams/story/2022-07-29/flashy-rookie-corner-rams-decobie-durant-training-camp Rams have another flashy rookie corner, Decobie Durant, in camp

Emma Bowman

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