The NFL OTAs (organized team activities) period gives us a glimpse at how teams plan to utilize rookies on the next level.
DECOBIE DURANT, LA RAMS
The defending Super Bowl champions selected Decobie Durant out of South Carolina State University with their fourth round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Durant was the first defensive player selected by the Los Angeles Rams and officially signed with the team this week.
The Rams run zone heavy schemes and Decobie Durant’s versatility will go along way in this kind of system. He is an outside corner but he is quick and twitchy enough to slide inside and keep up with speedy slot receivers. With the NFL OTAs underway, Durant has already had a chance to impress the coaching staff. Rams Head Coach Sean McVay spoke to the media after practice and admitted to being very impressed by the rookies.
“These are guys that you hope can become pro’s pro. They’re approaching things the right way,” McVay said. “They’re mature rookies, they’ve got a good look in their eye, they know how to come out and go to work. They know, ‘Hey, I’m gonna look at what these other veterans are doing and be able to mimic and emulate that, but put my own spin on it.’ And these guys like football, and that’s really important.”
JAMES HOUSTON, DETROIT LIONS
The Lions selected James Houston out of Jackson State with the 217th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Houston was an outside linebacker and edge rusher at Jackson State and the University of Florida. JSU Head Coach Deion Sanders began to use Houston mover versatility on defense by having him play inside, outside, and as an edge rusher. It seems as though the Lions are flirting with having him be a predominantly down lineman. Chris Burks of The Athletic reported on the way the Lions have been using him during the NFL OTAs period.
“Rookie James Houston has been bouncing between the LB and DL groups in the practices we’ve seen, but today’s the first time I recall seeing him doing extensive work with his hand in the dirt,” Burke reported. “He was in the DL group for almost all of practice, and played some DE in base sets.”