This week in the NFL is a big week, not only for the stars playing in the Pro Bowl but also for the future NFL stars, who are competing in this week’s Reese’s Senior Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium on the campus of the University of South Alabama.
The Rams are looking to find the members of the next wave of youth to add to a team that won seven of their final eight regular season games to reach the postseason. Work for the 2024 season begins this week with the Senior Bowl practices leading up to the big game on Feb. 3 and into the NFL Draft Combine at the end of February and finally the NFL Draft in late April.
5 Players For The Los Angeles Rams To Watch At The 2024 Senior Bowl
Javon Bullard, S, Georgia
In 2023, Javon Bullard was one of Georgia’s top safeties and he was part of both National Championship teams in 2021 and 2022. This season, he had 56 tackles, seven pass deflections, and two interceptions in 12 games.
During his time at Georgia, he was the 2022 Defensive MVP for both of the team’s CFP semifinal (Peach Bowl) and National Championship games for his play on that side of the ball.
So far at the Senior Bowl workouts, Bullard was named the top deep safety by his wide receiver and running back teammates on the American squad after covering running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends.
Looking like a potential third-round selection, standing at 5-foot-11 and weighing 195 pounds, he can add to a safeties and defensive backs room that is on the younger side, but his winning experience adds to his talent.
Khyree Jackson, DB, Oregon
At the cornerback position, Oregon’s Khyree Jackson had a stellar 2023 season heading into this week’s Senior Bowl.
Jackson, who turned some heads on the third day of practices Friday, broke up a pass by his Oregon teammate Bo Nix in the back corner of the endzone.
That was part of his success as a member of the Ducks in 2023 as he accumulated 10 pass breakups with three interceptions to go along with 34 total tackles and five tackles for loss.
Jackson was part of an Oregon team that lost to Washington in the Pac-12 Championship game and finished No. 6 in the final AP Poll after defeating Liberty in the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, 45-6.
The native of Upper Marlboro, Md., who also transferred to Oregon from Alabama, stands at 6-foot-3, which would be the Rams’ tallest cornerback if he gets drafted by the Blue and Gold.
As a result, this could be a player the Rams target to be part of their cornerback room and be part of the core for years to come.
Cedric Gray, LB, North Carolina
Sticking on defense, at the linebacker position, a player to watch throughout the week, leading to the Senior Bowl game is North Carolina’s Cedric Gray.
In 2023, Gray earned First Team All-ACC honors, both by the conference and the AP. It was also his second consecutive season of earning All-Conference First Team honors after recording 121 tackles, including 11 for loss, with five sacks.
In the open field, he also deflected five passes, and caught one interception, while forcing and recovering two fumbles.
In his four years as a Tar Heel, Wilson logged three, 100-tackle seasons, highlighted by 145 in 2022 with 12 tackles for loss and eight pass deflections.
Wilson has the opportunity to slide into the linebackers’ room with Ernest Jones and has the opportunity to excel as he could be an early Day 2 pick if the Rams want to select him with their third-round selection or trade up with their fifth or sixth-round picks.
Sam Hartman, QB, Notre Dame
Now on the offensive side of the ball, the Rams have their young core intact with Nacua at wide receiver and Kyren Williams at running back. One of the quarterbacks the Rams can target is Sam Hartman from Notre Dame.
Hartman is one of five members of the Fighting Irish competing at this week’s Senior Bowl festivities.
After spending his first five seasons with Wake Forest, he transferred to Notre Dame, and in 12 games this past season, he completed 64% of his passes for 2,689 yards with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
With his feet, he also added 45 carries for 123 yards and three touchdowns.
He has the opportunity to take the backup role from Stetson Bennett and be the next quarterback in line behind Matthew Stafford. Hartman will have the time to prepare and be mentored by Stafford in 2024 if he gets selected to play in Southern California for the Rams.
Ben Sinnott, Kansas State, TE
One final player to watch at the Senior Bowl is tight end Ben Sinnott from Kansas State.
In three seasons at Kansas State, Sinnott accumulated 82 receptions for 138 yards and 10 touchdowns in 38 career games. Last season he caught 49 passes for 676 yards and six touchdowns, including two scores at Missouri in September.
Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee tore both his ACL and MCL in the team’s 24-23 loss to Detroit in the NFC Wild Card game and depending on the rehab process, Higbee will not be ready for the season opener and possibly the team’s first month to six weeks of the season.
As a result, this is another position of need this offseason and Sinnott can provide that with his versatility both as a pass catcher and a run blocker.