25 most important Rams for 2018 – No. 19: CB Nickell Robey-Coleman
The Los Angeles Rams have two more preseason games to go through before Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders, but the regular season is rapidly approaching. There are just 19 days until the Rams take the field for that Monday night matchup with Jon Gruden’s squad, and with that, we introduce our 19th-most important Rams player for 2018.
In today’s pass-happy NFL, nickel packages have essentially become the base defenses for teams across the league. That increases the value of slot cornerbacks, who are often tasked with covering some of the best receivers in football.
Nickell Robey-Coleman proved his value to the team last season, earning a big extension from the Rams this offseason. He comes in at No. 19 on our list.
CB Nickell Robey-Coleman
2017 stats: 15 games, 49 tackles, 2 INTs, 9 PBUs, 1 FF, 80.5 overall grade from PFF
Robey-Coleman became an important piece of the Rams defense last season, holding down his position at nickel corner. Being undersized and quicker than fast, it’s the perfect spot for the former Bill.
Entering 2018, he’ll have two elite corners flanking him in Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, which could force even better receivers inside against Robey-Coleman. He’s sticky in coverage when asked to match up man-to-man, while also having a nose for the football against the run.
He’s never afraid to mix it up a bit and stick his helmet into the action, as evidenced by his 49 tackles in 15 games. That’s a key trait to have as a slot defender, given how close you are to the action when run plays are called.
His durability makes him an even greater asset, too. He’s only missed one game in his career, and that came in Week 17 last season when the Rams rested their starters. Robey-Coleman can always be counted on to take the field on any given Sunday, easing the minds of Los Angeles’ coaching staff.
In a secondary with big-name players across the board, Robey-Coleman sometimes gets overlooked. He shouldn’t, though, as he was undoubtedly the teams’ best cornerback last season – better than Trumaine Johnson. The Rams are deep at corner with Troy Hill and Sam Shields next on the depth chart, but Robey-Coleman isn’t an easy player to replace.
He’s secured his place as one of the five or 10 best slot corners in the NFL.