The Los Angeles Rams roster has a surplus of talent but only so many players receive recognition for their contributions on the field.
Left tackle Andrew Whitworth and cornerback Darious Williams have both been named the most underrated player at their position by Pro Football Focus.
Whitworth joined the Rams in 2017 after an 11-year stint with the Cincinnati Bengals. Since his arrival in Los Angeles, Whitworth has been a leader in the locker room and force along the offensive line, protecting the quarterback's blindside. He was named an All-Pro with the Rams in 2017 — his first season since leaving his old stomping grounds.
Anthony Treash of PFF said the following about Whitworth in naming him the game's most underrated left tackle:
"Whitworth was once widely considered as one of the NFL’s best tackles. Now, he is viewed as a 39-year-old at the tail end of the decline. However, Whitworth has still performed at an extraordinarily high level relative to his counterparts. He was one of the five highest-graded tackles in the NFL through the first 10 weeks of the 2020 season, allowing just six total hurries and no sacks or hits in nine games."
Whitworth isn't getting any younger, but his ability to slow down the efforts of the talented pass-rushers that the NFC West current throws at him week-after-week, has been second to none. He'll now be given the job of keeping newly acquired quarterback Matthew Stafford upright as he attempts to take the Rams offense to greater heights.
Like Whitworth, Williams was named the most underrated cornerback in the NFL by Treash.
Rams Exemplify Confidence Leading up to Big Test vs. Buccaneers
Sean McVay gives his assessment on how he believes the Rams matchup against the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers.
Rams' Final Injury Report for Week 3 vs. Buccaneers
The Rams have released their final injury report ahead of the Week 3 game against the Buccaneers.
Two Buccaneers Players Ruled Out in Week 3 vs. Rams
The Buccaneers have ruled out two players ahead of their matchup against the Rams.
"Williams shined on a small sample in 2019 before etching out a starting role in Brandon Staley’s defense a year later," Treash said. "He finished 2020 with the fourth-best PFF grade among all cornerbacks, including the postseason, racking up 16 combined interceptions and pass breakups in the process. Williams is a perfect fit for the Staley system, which won’t change much under new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris."
Williams has been the perfect compliment to cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Similar to Ramsey's style of play, Williams can hold his own, locking down receivers on an island without over-the-top protection if need be. Williams registered four interceptions in 2020, ranking third among all cornerbacks.
Following the 2021 campaign, Williams is set to become an unrestricted free agent. According to Spotrac, Williams' market value is $15 million per season.
Williams has certainly outperformed his current deal, exhibiting superior coverage ability for last season's No. 1 ranked defense. He'll now look to replicate that same body of work in a contract year with a big payday presumably bound to come his way.
Whitworth and Williams will be essential pieces for the Rams as they proceed forward with Super Bowl aspirations under the tandem of coach Sean McVay and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.
- NFC West 2021 Season Predictions
- SI Preseason Power Rankings: Where do the Rams Place?
- Los Angeles Rams 2021 Season Preview
- Sean McVay Gives Update on RB Sony Michel's Availability vs. Bears
- Bears vs. Rams Week 1 Odds: Point Spread, Over/Under, Moneyline
Nick Cothrel is the Publisher of Ram Digest. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel.