Training Camp Position Breakdown: S

The safeties are the last group to go before the specialists.   We are almost home!

OJ Atogwe – The Rams played the staredown game with OJ Atogwe all summer.  They called his bluff about other teams being interested in him and let him test free agency late in the summer.  Nothing materialized and both sides were happy to sign a long term deal in St. Louis.  Atogwe is the Rams best player in the secondary and a natural ball hawk.  As most ball hawks do, he gets better with better play around him.  He should benefit from better corner play and a healthy safety partner.

James Butler – James Butler will start across from Atogwe in the Rams safety lineup.  He will play closer to the line of scrimmage and focus more on stopping the run game.  Butler is a solid player but is slowing down from his salad days.  He missed a few too many tackles in 2009, but there were way too many open-field tackles Butler was required to make in 2009.

The rest of the safeties are after the jump!

Craig Dahl – The Rams signed Dahl to a long-term deal this offseason as their 3rd safety.  He is a great run defender, but is very limited in pass coverage.  Teams were able to find the receiver Dahl was covering when he played as the Rams 5th defensive back frequently in 2009.

Kevin Payne – The Rams picked up Payne from the Bears in the offseason.  Payne is slightly better in coverage than Dahl, but is still more of a strong safety than free safety, but if he makes the field that allows the Rams to swap safety responsibilities to confuse the offense.  He should be the 4th and final safety on the roster.

Darian Stewart – If the Rams keep 5 safeties, Stewart will be the man.  He’s another talented run-stopping safety, although very raw and best suited to playing near the line of scrimmage.  Think about former Ram Adam Archuleta.  Stewart is a good candidate for the practice squad if he does not earn his place on special teams.

Brett Johnson – Johnson is at a bit of a disadvantage as he was acquired in the middle training camp and he is a talented speedster with huge leaping ability.  He only started at corner for 1 year at California, but has some serious raw talent.  However, he may need too much seasoning for the Rams in 2010.  But, expect to see his name in the Rams transaction logs off an on as the years go by.


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