Next Los Angeles Rams Star? NFL Analyst Predicts 2024 Breakout Year for Defender

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NFL Analyst Dan Pizzuta wrote about the seven candidates to have a breakout season in the upcoming NFL season. Among those players was the Los Angeles Rams linebacker Ernest Jones.

Jones was drafted by the Rams in 2021 in the 3rd round and he was made starting middle linebacker by Week 8 of that year. Ever since Jones has been a defensive Swiss army knife for the Rams, doing any and everything asked of him.

After being thrust into a starting position midway through his rookie season, he was then asked to take a back seat when the Rams added Bobby Wagner in 2022. In 2023 Jones was named team captain and was given the duty of defensive play caller on an extremely inexperienced defense. Not only that, but when the Rams pass rush fell flat Jones moved into a new role as a blitzer last season. In his first two seasons, he was used as a blitzer just 33 times in 32 games. In 2023 alone he blitzed 58 times in 15 games.

NFL Analyst On Los Angeles Rams LB

NFL: Ernest Jones Los Angeles Rams at Kansas City Chiefs
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Here is was Pizzuta wrote of Jones:

If you pay close attention to the Los Angeles Rams’ defense, Ernest Jones is hard to miss. He’s everywhere. 

If you wanted to suggest Jones’s third season was already a breakout, you probably could. The 2021 third-round pick started 15 games, had 145 tackles (14 for loss) and made a tackle on an insane 27.9 percent of his run defense snaps. Only one other player of the 62 with at least 100 tackles had more than 25 percent (Azeez Al-Shaair at 25.9 percent).

After those numbers, the fourth-year “breakout” might be more about the general public knowing who he is.

There’s a chance Jones’ game has another level, and he’ll be in a perfect defense to get there. New Rams DC Chris Shula was the linebackers coach in 2021 when Jones was drafted. Shula also played a part in the scouting and drafting process for Jones. He’s been a significant piece in Jones’s development throughout his career.

Jones added something to his game each season. He became a tackling machine at the second level and near the line of scrimmage. He’s been a plus in coverage, ranking 19th among linebackers in yards allowed per coverage snap last season.

His most recent addition was as a pass rusher. In his three seasons, Jones’s pass rush rate has gone from 9.5 percent to 6.6 percent to 22.6 percent in 2023. On those plays last season, he had 33 pressures and 4.5 sacks. 

If Jones continues to build his repertoire, he could break through into the top tier of linebackers — or at least get a Pro Bowl nod. 

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
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