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Rochell, Rochell: Seahawks hope Pete Carroll can kickstep another CB into shape
Seahawks sign former Rams 4th round pick onto practice squad: Seaside Joe 1644
One of the stars of this season of Hard Knocks is Tanzel Smart, a former sixth round pick of the Los Angeles Rams who was let go after three seasons with the team. But Smart isn’t the real story to watch on the Jets defensive line, he’s not even the only former Sean McVay draft pick who found a better fit in New York than L.A..
That story would be John Franklin-Myers, a fourth round pick of the Rams in 2018 who McVay cut from the roster after only one season together. Franklin-Myers was added to the Jets roster and by his second year in New York had developed into one of head coach Robert Saleh’s best defensive players. JFM isn’t going to be confused for teammate Quinnen Williams, but his four-year, $55 million contract extension in 2021 is all the evidence you need to know that the Rams screwed up.
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Franklin-Myers has posted 11 sacks and 34 quarterback hits with the Jets in the past two seasons, which hurts L.A. all the more because the Rams have never been able to find a permanent running mate for Aaron Donald.
What went wrong between the Rams and JFM? There are a number of reasons, none of which apply to the Seahawks…except to say that Seattle is hoping that McVay gave up on a player too soon again.
The Seahawks added cornerback Robert Rochell to the practice squad on Thursday, potentially another huge defensive back steal for the best defensive backs coach in history. Make no mistake, Rochell’s career has been a disaster and he was the worst cornerback in Rams training camp, which is saying a lot when you consider who his competition has been. But Seattle gets to try him out at no cost and no draft picks and he’s got far more tools to work with than the average waiver wire addition.
Rochell is 6’2, 195 lbs, and he ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine. He also posted a 43” vertical, an elite mark and that is no doubt his calling card and the only reason he’s been in the NFL: Rochell is a 95th percentile athlete at cornerback.
He even showed some promise as a first-year player out of Central Arkansas (his one game in the 2020 pandemic season came against Trey Lance in his orchestrated audition for NFL scouts) but Rochell has not been anywhere close to looking like an NFL player in the past 18 months.
At least we know that Pete Carroll has a history of getting the most out of athletic cornerbacks who had usually shown their least.
We can talk about late round draft picks like Byron Maxwell and Richard Sherman, or CFL steals like Brandon Browner, but the first name that came to mind for me was D.J. Reed. Not alike in physicality or measurements or style, but only because Reed was a fifth round pick waived by the 49ers and able to join Seattle’s roster in 2020. It was surprising that he stayed on an NFL roster at all, but now Reed, just like John Franklin-Myers, is a high-paid player on the Jets. Following two starting seasons with the Seahawks, Reed signed a three-year, $33 million contract with New York and is key part of a defense expected to be in the top-five.
I have really low expectations for Robert Rochell, same as I had when Seattle signed other former Rams like Gerald Everett and Chris Garrett. But you can’t be let down by low expectations. You can only be let down by giving up on players too soon because your expectations were too high.